Jim Yong Kim and the World Bank's Goal to End Poverty
Since 2012 (and now in his second term), physician and anthropologist Jim Yong Kim has served as the president of the World Bank Group. After assuming leadership of the World Bank, he took up two goals: “to end extreme poverty by 2030; and to boost shared prosperity, focusing on the bottom 40 percent of the population in developing countries.” 
His career has revolved around health, education and improving the lives of the poor.

Milken Institute and Global Poverty

On May 19, Jim Yong Kim spoke at the Milken Institute Global Conference which focuses on “advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health.” 

The Milken Institute hosts its Global Conference from April 29 to May 2 in Los Angeles, California, and possesses various centers focused on topics such as the Center for Financial Markets, Center for the Future of Aging, and Center for Jobs and Human Capital. One of the organization’s foci is children — 150 million children around the world are affected by poor nutrition, undersized growth, and cognitive impairment, and live primarily in South Asia and African countries.

According to VOA, if leaders don’t focus on investing in their people, then “many, many, many people will find themselves undereducated and without the skills to be able to compete in the economy of the future and so many countries are going to go down the path of fragility, conflict, violence, and then of course, extremism and migration.”

Business, Health and Development

In the talk, Jim Yong Kim stated there should be a business-like mindset when talking about health and development of individual; in fact, Kim has made it his mission to make this world a better place by working towards a common goal of reducing poverty.

According to Forbes, Kim wants to “reduce extreme poverty levels to below 3 percent of global people, and grow the incomes of the bottom 40 percent of each country.” His organization also lends out cash — almost $59 billion a year.

Before Kim assumed his position as president of the World Bank, he was president at Dartmouth College and “from 2003 to 2005, as director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department, he led the “3 by 5” initiative, the first-ever global goal for AIDS treatment, which greatly to expand access to antiretroviral medication in developing countries.” 

From A Ted Talk to Today

In a Ted Talk in April of 2017, Kim spoke about going to Haiti when everyone told him that the best thing to do was to focus on vaccination and possibly a feeding program. Since Kim’s parents had emigrated from Korea to flee the Korean war, though, Kim had a different perspective — what he saw in Haiti was what he saw in parents: to give their children the opportunity that they didn’t have.

In the Ted Talk, he goes on to say, “the Haitians wanted a hospital. They wanted schools. They wanted to provide their children with the opportunities that they’d been hearing about from others, relatives, for example, who had gone to the United States. They wanted the same kinds of opportunities as my parents did.”

In conclusion, Jim Yong Kim is a accredited president of the World Bank Group, and a charitable person who traveled to Haiti to help build hospitals and schools, and give children increased opportunities. All in all, if more people follow Kim’s example, the world will be a stronger and more sustainable place. 

– Valeria Flores
Photo: Flickr

Jim Yong KimWorld Bank President Jim Yong Kim said at the start of his term in July 2012 that he wants to eradicate poverty by the year 2030. Jim Yong Kim is the 12th president of the World Bank Group, nominated by Barack Obama in 2012, and unanimously reappointed in September 2016 to an additional five-year term to head the global financial and technical assistance program. Kim established these twin goals to inspire the work he accomplished throughout his term: alleviating poverty by 2030 and increasing shared prosperity.

In a speech delivered at Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2015, Kim proposed that efforts be refocused on improving health in developing nations. If we want to end poverty and stimulate the global economy, redirecting efforts to improve healthcare systems is the best way to accomplish these goals. Kim wants to capitalize on the World Health Organization’s goal of reducing the number of stunted children in the world by 40 percent by 2025. Kim proposes to completely rid the world of cognitive impairments brought on by malnourishment and understimulation by 2030 as well.

The secretary is well on his way to achieving the goals he put in place at the start of his term. In a press conference held in October 2017, Kim revealed that over 800 million people have escaped the grip of poverty as a result of China’s poverty reduction efforts. The World Bank’s involvement with China will continue in the form of improving its healthcare system, promoting access to social services in rural regions and supporting China’s focus on increasing domestic consumption. Similarly, multicomponent efforts have reduced the world’s population who live on less than $1.90 a day from 1.86 billion to 767 million people. This means that nearly 1.1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990.

In addition to these accomplishments, the World Bank also reached its target goal of disbursing $518 million to support countries affected by the Ebola outbreak in 2016. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s career has been dedicated to global health, education and ameliorating the conditions of the world’s poor. With these goals in motion, the year 2030 should be a beautiful one.

Sloan Bousselaire

Photo: Flickr

World Bank Group President
On September 24, 2016, it was announced that World Bank Group’s President Jim Yong Kim had been selected for a second term. Starting July 2017, Kim will continue leading The World Bank’s ongoing efforts to alleviate global poverty.

Founded in 1944, The World Bank began as an institution facilitating post-war reconstruction and development. At that time, The World Bank took on infrastructure projects to physically rebuild communities. Today, however, the organization has expanded its work to include myriad social projects.

Now, the multifaceted institution is comprised of economists, experts in public policy, social scientists and sector experts and has a portfolio of projects in agriculture, health, education and other areas of the social sector. Although reconstruction is still a focus, the group’s overlying goal is to reduce global poverty through sustainable and inclusive global prosperity.

When Jim Yong Kim, a South Korean-American physician and anthropologist, was originally elected to the presidency in 2012, The World Bank had set two bold goals: to eradicate global poverty by 2030 and to promote shared prosperity by boosting the income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population in every developing country.

During his first term, Kim brought more structure, accountability and focus to The World Bank with clearer policies and targets, and efforts to meet those targets have been successful. Some of his greatest accomplishments came from dispersing the bank’s power and reallocating large amounts of its resources to combating climate change, addressing the Syrian refugee crisis and undertaking other initiatives that have not traditionally been within The World Bank’s scope.

He also gained much praise for his leadership in the Ebola outbreak, during which he allocated $400 million to combat the deadly virus in West Africa. Additionally, he implored the rest of the international community to invest in containing Ebola, even criticizing the World Health Organization (WHO) for its lax response.

The World Bank Group president also made a number of allies during his term, according to Africa News. When he voiced his intention to run for a second term, he gained endorsements from many countries, including South Korea, the Netherlands, Kenya, Rwanda, Togo and others.

Recognized worldwide for his invaluable experience and accomplishments prior to his election in 2012, Kim worked as an advisor to the director-general of WHO. He later rose to the position of director in WHO’s renowned HIV/AIDS department.

As he finishes his first term and looks forward to his second, one of Kim’s main focuses is making more progress toward the goal of eradicating global poverty by 2030.

-Alex Fidler

Photo: Flickr

Investing in Early Childhood
At the World Bank Group-IMF Annual Meetings, nine countries committed to investing in early childhood needs and reduce malnutrition in developing countries.

All the countries in question are dedicated to funneling new resources into the early years of children. The hope is that by doing so, they will live longer, healthier lives and learn important tools and skills that will help them grow into well-adjusted, productive adults.

“Poor nutrition, few opportunities for early learning and stimulation, and toxic environments literally hardwire young children to miss out on opportunities to learn and later to earn good wages,” said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group.

According to UNICEF, children in poor environments are far more likely to experience stunted growth when compared to their richer counterparts. This is in part due to lack of access to proper nutrition, which can have negative effects on growth and development.

For instance, a recent study by The Lancet has noted that 66 percent of children in Sub-Saharan Africa suffer from poverty and stunting. In South Asia, 65 percent of children are at risk of stunting which is an irreversible condition that hampers the physical and cognitive growth of children.

Organizations such as Save the Children have been working diligently to combat the issue. They have implemented School Health and Nutrition programs, which increase access to health and nutrition services in schools, such as micronutrient supplementation and vision and hearing screening.

Improving nutrition in developing countries is also one of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Both programs recognize the importance of improving nutrition in developing countries to better foster appropriate physical and cognitive development in children.

By promoting healthy life behaviors, increasing access to sustainable agriculture and improving skills-based education, these institutions hope to make stunting due to child malnutrition a thing of the past.

Sabrina Santos

Photo: Flickr

Ghana and the world bank
On October 16, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim visited Ghana to participate in high-level talks, launch a report on poverty in Africa, highlight Ghana’s progress toward ending extreme poverty and commemorate End Poverty Day.

Earlier this month, the World Bank released a report showing that the percentage of people living in extreme poverty around the world will have fallen to 9.6 percent  in 2015, which is below 10 percent for the first time.

With this percentage, the Bank estimates that 702 million people still live in extreme poverty today around the world. Jim Yong Kim’s visit to Accra is part of several activities focusing on the World Bank’s goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Several African countries, such as Ghana, are successful in reducing extreme poverty. From 1991/92 (under the $1.90 poverty line) to 2005/06, Ghana reduced extreme poverty from 47.3 percent to 25.2 percent.

However, the whole region lags behind the rest of the world in progressing toward the elimination of poverty. Based on an extreme poverty line of $1.90 a day, Sub-Saharan poverty fell from 56 percent in 1990 to 35 percent from 1990 to 2015.

Rapid population growth remains a key obstacle in many countries’ progress.

Firstly, joined by Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama and other development partners as well as civil society leaders, private sector representatives and student leaders, Dr. Kim visited “End Poverty Day” in Jamestown, Accra to launch the regional flagship report, “Poverty in a Rising Africa,” with the other participants.

The content of his report includes whether Africa’s growth covers enough citizens on the continent, the challenges related to poverty data and updates on poverty and other trends related to human well-being.

In the afternoon at the University of Ghana, Legon, Kim also participated in a “Shared Prosperity Forum,” along with government ministers from Africa, civil society and private sector leaders, to share thoughts on what it will take to end extreme poverty in Africa and the rest of the world by 2030. Participants explored Ghana’s own path toward prosperity.

The World Bank’s current portfolio for Sub-Saharan Africa consists of $11.6 billion for 103 projects, including $1.2 billion in IBRD loans and $10.4 billion in IDA commitments.

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group focused on the private sector. It has a total committed investment portfolio of $10.3 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa. IFC also offers advice to governments and businesses to emphasize the roles of private sectors in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

MIGA, the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group, has a gross exposure of $3.3 billion in the region. Ending poverty is a goal that the World is fighting for.

Shengyu Wang

Sources: World Bank, GBN
Photo: Flickr

In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals were established. These eight goals focused on halving world poverty by 2015; however, that benchmark was met after five years, proving that reducing poverty is not only necessary but possible. According to The Economist, a large contributor to this decline in poverty is China who “pulled 680 million people out of misery in 1981-2010, and reduced its extreme-poverty rate from 84% in 1980 to 10% now.”

China developed a system that took many people out of poverty, and it is this system that could help other nations do the same. During the 30 years that poverty was reduced in half, China was focusing on strengthening its economy. By letting smaller businesses grow, it helped millions of people flourish in a country which had the most poverty.

But how can we learn from China and apply this to the rest of the world so that poverty can be eradicated by 2030 as the World Bank hopes to see?

The World Bank has worked closely with China in the past with the Southwest and Qinba Mountains Poverty Project. Focused on developing a more efficient way to monitor the rates and locations of poverty within the country, this system has helped China succeed in developing better agricultural practices, education and improving access to clean drinking water. Although their projects have been successful, the World Bank and China continue to work together to reach people who are still living in poor conditions.

Their partnership has implemented a Sustainable Development in Poor Countries Project. “The project will pilot new ways to provide poverty reduction assistance to the poorest communities by enabling communities to select and implement initiatives themselves,” says the World Bank.  Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, strongly believes that it is possible to end poverty by 2030. Learning from China and applying similar methods in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty levels have risen in some areas, can help make this goal a reality.

Along with the efforts of the World Bank, the U.N. is also trying to maintain the development progress China has made. The Division for Sustainable Development, or DSD, aims to eradicate poverty as well as educate people to continue to thrive. With these new projects in place, it is possible to see poverty end in our lifetime.

Kimberly Quitzon

Sources: The Economist, The World Bank, YaleGlobal Online
Chinadaily US Edition

Climate Change
It is unfortunate for a family to go without food or water for extensive periods of time. However, the real disaster is climate change. In the world’s poorest countries, where carbon emissions are at their lowest, people experience the worst natural disasters. Droughts affect the production of crops and storms destroy developing regions.

According to Oxfam, “In the next 40 years, climate-related disasters are projected to displace between 150 million and one billion people.”

People living in poverty will experience the greatest loss when natural disasters occur, increasing their risk of starvation and lack of clean water. However, natural disasters will put all people, rich and poor, out of homes and ultimately make climate change one of the main barriers to ending world poverty.

“Just about everything we do has to be focused on tackling climate change, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation,” says World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

During his lecture at Georgetown University, Kim addressed the importance of tackling climate change in order to help the world’s poor and shared his five-point plan that will reduce carbon emissions.

The leading countries in carbon emissions are China and the U.S., therefore these nations are the most responsible for the ongoing production of greenhouse gases. However, these nations are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2014, the U.S. and China set a goal to reduce emissions by 2025.

“The announcement was a historic step for climate change action and for the U.S.-China relationship, as the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers, and carbon emitters came together to demonstrate leadership on an issue that affects the entire world,” said the White House.

Since climate change affects electricity in some regions, technology is being built to accommodate these issues. The Gates Foundation has invested in the Omniprocessor that not only produces clean water from human waste but also generates electricity without exerting carbon emissions. Additionally, 3D printers have become a potential resource to help developing regions. Given the versatility of 3D printers, they can be used, for example, to create tools to monitor the weather so that people can better prepare for storms or heat waves.

Although technology is being produced and people are fighting for laws that recognize and halt climate change, individuals can help. Saving energy, water and recycling are all steps that can be taken to help the environment and, ultimately, the nations being affected.

– Kimberly Quitzon

Sources: Georgetown University, Oxfam America, The White House
Photo: Flickr

The World Bank is verging on insignificance. As a low-interest lender to developing countries, economists have warned that the private sector may nudge the World Bank out of the limelight as a development institution. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, however, has set lofty goals in order to influence a change of course.

In March, Kim wrote a blog for the Huffington Post outlining the reasons discrimination is bad for the global economy. He noted that 81 countries have outlawed homosexuality, while nine states in the United States have laws that mandate how homosexuality can be discussed in schools. Far over 100 countries directly discriminate against women, 15 of which have laws allowing men to prohibit their wives from working, and an even greater number discriminate against minorities. As Kim points out, this is a huge deficit to society.

The Middle East and North Africa currently experience income losses of almost 30 percent as a result of low economic participation by women. Likewise in Latin America and South Asia, a study estimated that increasing women’s economic activity to the level of men’s would increase average income by 14 percent and 19 percent, respectively.

In light of these figures, Kim believes the global economy can be drastically improved within the foreseeable future. He aims to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030.

The plan, outlined in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on April 1, has been met with expected criticism by economists arguing that the efforts laid out will not be sufficient for the goals desired. But by increasing annual lending to quickly growing developing countries inhabited most of the world’s poor, Kim estimates the lending capacity for those countries to grow to about $300 billion over the next decade. He also estimated almost $400 million in cost savings over the next three years.

Tightening the World Bank’s budget is a major aspect of the reorganizations necessary to make this plan play out. By cutting costs, reassessing lending risks and charging more for its loans, the Bank’s lending capacity should increase by about $100 million over 10 years. Kim claims to have found almost $400 million available from cost-cutting through 2016 and argues that each dollar saved is worth 10 times that in leverage for lending.

While budget cuts inevitably lead to a reduction in staff, Kim plans to keep roughly 90 percent of the World Bank’s employees and only get rid of redundancies that may in fact have been slowing productivity. In additional reorganization of staff, Kim is focusing on expertise among divisions rather than simply region and country. For example, 14 “Global Practices” have been drafted, including agriculture, climate change, gender, education and water. This will allow for more cooperation throughout the Bank and ultimately more efficiency in the institution’s practices. The solutions offered are meant to be exercises in integrity rather than a thoughtless disposal of employees in order to gain profit.

The majority of the world’s poorest people do not necessarily live in the world’s poorest countries. They live in developing countries like Brazil, India and Nigeria. Implementing high impact projects in these countries can drastically benefit a large population. Despite criticism against it, Kim’s plan has the potential to bring major improvements to the global economy and to the state of the world’s poor.

– Jaclyn Stutz

Sources: Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, World Bank, The Wall Street Journal
Photo: Conakry Live

In order to catalyze radical revolution against global poverty, one group that has long championed the bottom 40 percent of the population in developing countries proposed radical changes to their ambitions.

On October 11 2013, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim delivered a speech at the Annual Meetings Plenary in Washington, D.C. stating significant changes in the Group’s bureaucracy. Such changes include cutting annual costs by at least $400 million in the next three years. Kim was also straightforward in the question of staff cutbacks: “You bet. There will be,” he said.

Kim promises that such changes would tighten efficiency and bring the Group’s best talents together to embark on projects that would make the greatest impact on ending world poverty. The World Bank’s clients consist of low-income countries and poor and emerging economies in need of financial assistance and advice in establishing basic infrastructures.

Kim’s speech paid special attention on the reality of 400 million children living in squalor who need the poverty-combating services the Group provides. The image of 400 million children in need, Kim proposes, is more than enough motivation for the Group to strive harder to surpass initial development goals. Kim’s vision for the new World Bank is ambition and innovation in humanitarian efforts.

The current rate of growth of developing countries reveals that world poverty will reduce to 8 percent by 2030. Kim emphasized that the current rate is too slow and is a breeding ground for paralysis and inaction. A faster rate of growth and more demanding goals are at the heart of the World Bank’s future work and projects.

Kim proposed the Group’s new goal of reducing global poverty to 9 percent by 2020 in order to bring the total percentage down to 3 percent by 2030, virtually ending the pandemic within the next two decades.

Kim concluded with a powerful statement: “We are committed to becoming even better, and we will act boldly, without fear. And always we will speak loudly on behalf of the poor and the powerless…Together, we must urgently lift a billion people from extreme poverty…and the whole world’s future for the better.” Other anti-poverty organizations and governmental bodies should use the current mobilizations of the World Bank as inspiration—as a shining example of passionate and bold commitment to ending world poverty.

– Malika Gumpangkum

Sources: World Bank: President Jim Yong Kim Speech, World Bank: Group President Annual Meetings Plenary, Huffington Post
Photo: Foreign Policy

At the USGLC (US Global Leader Coalition) 2013 Conference, June 26-28, Jim Yong Kim president of the World Bank spoke of the importance of poverty reduction. Kim believes that “for the first time in human history, we have an opportunity [to eradicate poverty]”.

The first of Kim’s goals is to end poverty by 2030. By reducing poverty rates to below 3 percent, we can “bend the arc of history”, Kim told the USGLC. With consistent growth rates, the 2030 projected poverty rate is between six and nine percent. But lowering the poverty rate down below three percent will virtually remove all poverty and leave only frictional poverty, according to Kim.

Kim defined frictional poverty as the poverty resulting from circumstances difficult to control. Situations that have to be responded to on a case by case basis, like famine or other natural disasters, will be the only poverty left after levels are reduced to below three percent worldwide.

Kim’s second goal is to boost the incomes of the bottom 40 percent. Kim emphasized that without an all-inclusive economy, societies will become increasingly unstable.

The World Bank president also placed critical importance on foreign assistance. Today, total development assistance is about $125 billion. Although influential, the amount of assistance needs to increase, Kim said. Funding for Africa infrastructure is $95 billion alone. Kim also emphasized the importance of private sector investment in eliminating poverty.

“Change will not happen,” Kim concluded, unless everyone “decides that the ultimate goal is more important than raising the flag for our single organizations.”

Danielle Doedens

Sources: USGLC, YouTube
Photo: Merco Press