Connect with us


World Bank chief vows to tackle ‘dysfunctionality’ at development lender

World Bank President Ajay Banga aims to reform the institution, emphasizing tackling climate change alongside poverty alleviation, advocating for “elimination of poverty, but on a livable planet.”



WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES — World Bank President Ajay Banga said Tuesday that he is working to reform “dysfunctionality” among the leadership of the development lender, and pledged to refocus its mission to better address the challenges posed by climate change.

The former Mastercard chief executive told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York that the bank should alter its current twin mandate of poverty alleviation and boosting shared prosperity to include climate change.

“I think the twin goals have to change to being elimination of poverty, but on a livable planet, because of the intertwined nature of our crises,” he said.

He added that he was working to redefine the World Bank’s business around what he called five key knowledge “verticals”: people, prosperity, planet, infrastructure and digital.

Banga’s comments in New York come shortly before global leaders are due to gather for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) annual meetings, which will take place this year in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

Fixing the plumbing

Banga, an Indian-born naturalized US citizen, was nominated to lead the World Bank earlier this year by President Joe Biden, and began his new role in June.

The bank has historically been led by an American, while the IMF has been managed by a European — a controversial arrangement that has existed since the two institutions were founded in the aftermath of the second World War.

Banga has already made a number of changes to the bank’s management since taking over, setting up a new 15-person private sector advisory board, and pledging deeper cooperation with regional development banks to tackle shared challenges.

On Tuesday, Banga vowed to “fix the plumbing” at the bank, which he said suffered from “dysfunctionality” in the boardroom.

The World Bank’s board is made up of 25 executive directors appointed by its 189 member countries, who must balance the interests of the development lender with those of the states they represent.

“I want people to say when I’m gone that I left the bank working much better than when I got it, because then my successor will not have to deal with what I’m dealing with,” he said.

Climate change

Proposals to reform the World Bank’s balance sheet from countries including the US and Saudi Arabia could add as much as $125 billion in extra lending capacity if they come to pass, Banga told the audience in New York.

This would be a significant increase for the development lender, which mobilized just over US$100 billion in financing last year.

Banga has previously called on the World Bank to collaborate more closely with the private sector to meet the enormous costs associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation.

On Tuesday, Banga said the bank should carefully target where it wants to encourage private investment to help cap carbon emissions in order to have the biggest impact.

“We need to focus on 10 countries where the growth of emissions will be so high if we don’t change to renewables that all the work we do in the developed world to reduce the use of emission-heavy energy will be lost,” he said, without naming them.

These middle-income countries are states “where there is some hope for the private sector, both in terms of scalable models and the like, that renewable energy could make money,” he added.

In order to invite the private sector to participate, the World Bank should offer to manage some of the political risks associated with climate-related investments in these countries, along with the risk of currency fluctuations, Banga said.

The World Bank group already has a political risk agency, but the foreign exchange risk is an issue that still needs to be resolved, he told the audience in New York.

“That’s the way to involve the private sector,” he added.


Share this post via:
Continue Reading
1 Comment
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

We have rapidly Ageing population in the world . Do something to address that . The capitalist system is a temporary success but a permanent failure. The USA needs to answer for this when they went after communist countries. Good luck