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World Bank President Outlines Agenda to End Extreme Poverty

World Bank2 April 2013: In a speech delivered at Georgetown University, titled "Within Our Grasp: A World Free of Poverty," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim set forth an ambitious agenda for the global community to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to reduce income inequality by boosting the incomes of the poorest 40% of the population in each country.

While recognizing continued economic troubles in advanced economies, worsening climate change threats and persistent inequality, Kim stressed that now is the time to act. He stated that "We are at an auspicious moment in history when the successes of past decades and an increasingly favorable economic outlook combine to give developing countries a chance -- for the first time ever -- to end extreme poverty within a generation." However, he added that ending extreme poverty is not enough, underscoring a need to also ensure inclusive growth for sustained economic development.

The World Bank is well-positioned to assist global partners to meet these twin goals, Kim said, while stressing that eliminating extreme poverty will require "extraordinary effort," including by: accelerating growth rates observed over the past 15 years, particularly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa; enhancing inclusiveness, curbing inequality and ensuring growth translates into poverty reduction and job creation; and averting or mitigating food, fuel, financial and climatic shocks. He also highlighted his commitment to secure a strong replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA) to fund poverty reduction for the poorest 81 countries.

Kim outlined four ways the Bank intends to assist countries to end extreme poverty and ensure inclusive growth: maximizing impact through prioritizing Bank activities; monitoring and observing progress towards these goals; advocating these goals in the international community; and working with partners to share knowledge on solutions. Kim described the final point as the most important, outlining the Bank's efforts to devise a "science of delivery for development" that will provide practitioners with knowledge, tools, support networks and real-time advice drawn from experts around the world. [World Bank Press Release] [Kim Statement]