Given The Washington Times’ attention to poverty and development issues, we were surprised to read the editorial “Rearranging the World Bank” (Oct. 14). Owned by 188 member countries, the World Bank works to end poverty and boost prosperity in poor countries with targeted projects in education, health, infrastructure and agriculture, among other areas. We push for economic reforms, open markets, streamlined regulations, good governance and anti-corruption measures. Our efforts to improve conditions in fragile and conflict-affected countries contribute to global, regional and by extension, U.S. security.
The World Bank’s focus on results has had real impact. In just the past decade, we’ve immunized 310 million children and provided access to water and sanitation for 177 million people. In Hungary, we’ve helped cut pollution in the Danube River Basin by more than half. Moving forward, we are leading efforts to end extreme poverty in the world by 2030, and have set an interim target of 9 percent living in extreme poverty by 2020, just seven years away, from 18 percent today.
Key branches of the World Bank Group are largely self-financing, making us a great value for the money. Our annual “Doing Business” report is a must-read for reformers around the world trying to cut bureaucratic red tape and improve business environments. Countries value our development knowledge; South Korea, for example, while no longer a borrower, is opening a new knowledge hub with us in Seoul. It is a win-win, particularly for American businesses involved in exports, to have an international finance and development institution focused on promoting global growth.
We can always do better. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is driving change across the entire organization to up our game, and we look forward to sharing our story with your readers.
Director, The World Bank Group