World Bank president urges reform

Published: October 2, 2009

The World Bank must offer more support to low-income countries and increase the share that developing economies have within the bank, says its president, speaking at the annual World Bank / IMF meetings in Istanbul.

“We have broken the fall of the financial crisis, but it is certainly too early to declare success,” Robert Zoellick said. “2009 will continue to be a difficult year, and 2010, when much of the stimulus action will run out, remains a highly uncertain economic year.”

Zoellick added that low-income countries in particular will continue to suffer and that “it is therefore important that the G20 agreed to scale up support for developing countries”. 

He hopes that the World Bank / IMF meetings will result in the proposal of a new crisis facility for low-income countries as part of the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for poor countries.

Meanwhile, Zoellick also highlighted the G20 agreement to increase developing countries’ share in the World Bank to as much as 47% by early next year.  He wants this figure to reach 50% in time.

“The danger today is no longer, fortunately, one of a collapsing world economy,” he said. “The danger today is one of complacency. If the crisis wanes, there will be a natural tendency to return to business as usual.

“And it will become harder to convince countries to cooperate in order to address many of the problems that led to this crisis, that put millions of livelihoods of people at risk, and the problems that we will face coming out of the crisis. Therefore, we have to seize this moment to press reform.”