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It's Annual Meetings time and we are on the ground to give you an inside look at the events here in Washington, DC!

Right here on this page, you will find a daily recap of the World Bank Group events, which includes highlights from high-level panel discussions, Facebook live interviews, roundtables, speeches from the president and senior management, hangouts, live chats and expert Q&A sessions. 

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Challenging Business as Usual: A Conversation Between Jim Yong Kim and Hamdi Ulukaya

© Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim spoke with Chobani CEO & Tent Foundation Founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, about his mission to rewrite the rules of business to create shared prosperity and help refugees. 

The session put a spotlight on the issue of forced displacement and the role the private sector can play. He mentioned how little the world of business is involved in tackling the forced displacement issue, adding that the topic of refugees has a branding issue that needs to be fixed. He discussed the need to move beyond typical “corporate social responsibility” programs and use the core business to drive change for refugees. He shared the story of how he first learned about the refugees resettled in the city of Utica in New York state and his efforts to employ refugees – currently a third of the company’s workforce are refugees. 

Ulukaya also highlighted the need to address income inequality, which he described as "a major issue." Not only has Chobani paid double the local average wages, but they also have implemented a profit sharing program, so every employee has a stake in the company’s success. 

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Future Harvest: Who Will Grow Tomorrow’s Food?

© World Bank

The World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice hosted an event highlighting young farmers who are finding profit and purpose in agriculture. 

Journalist Femi Oke moderated the panel, which was headlined by Shelly-Ann Dinnall, a poultry farmer from Jamaica; Pedro Diniz, Founder and CEO of a large scale organic farm in Brazil; Katrina Sasse, a cereal farmer from Australia; and Brian Ndyaguma, an entrepreneur who grows greens to supply a café in Uganda.

The farmers detailed how they built successful businesses, despite starting with few resources and in some cases, no knowledge of farming.

Katrina, who left behind a banking career to work on her family farm, discussed her efforts to get more women involved in agriculture. Shelly-Ann called on policy makers to help create a more supportive environment for young people who do not have preexisting farms or credit.  Brian recommended teaming up with other people as a way to overcome the resource constraints many young people face. Meanwhile, Pedro, an ex-Formula 1 driver, argued that sustainable farming that restores, rather than harms, the planet is the way of the future.

Watch parties were held in several locations—including at World Bank offices, incubators and agriculture co-ops in Accra, Ghana, Kampala, Uganda, Nairobi, Kenya and Fort Harcourt, Nigeria. Students from Bishop Stuart University, Jomo Kenyatta University, Makerere University and Nairobi University were among the groups that tuned in.

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#OUTLOOK2018 for Latin America: Will Next Year Be Better?

World Bank Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean Carlos Végh said on Wednesday that after six years of growth deceleration, 2017 would constitute the first year with an increase in growth. The improvement was mainly driven by a strong recovery in Argentina and a more tepid one in Brazil.

However, the region will not have the benefits of favorable external factors such as a buoyant global economy or a great demand of raw materials. This means that Latin America must boost its own growth and put its house in order - in some cases with difficult public spending and money management decisions.

This was acknowledged by Végh during the presentation of the report "Between a rock and a hard place: the monetary policy dilemma in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

This commodity-exporting emerging markets face a critical monetary policy dilemma each time there is an external shock, for example a sudden fall in commodity prices. How should the monetary authority react? Raise the policy interest rate to defend the currency and prevent inflation from taking off or reduce the policy rate to stimulate the economy?

Given the weak fiscal situation, a source of concern for the near future is that there will be little room for countercyclical fiscal policy if it were needed to boost growth and/or support fiscal rebuilding efforts.

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From our Facebook Live interview series today

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim about what countries need to do to prepare for the future.

World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva to discuss how working with partners can help build resilience and #EndPoverty by 2030.

The Wealth That is Not Measured

This event looked at how policymakers must go beyond GDP to get the whole picture of the economic health and sustainability of a country.

The event kicked off with opening comments by Laura Tuck, Vice President of Sustainable Development at the World Bank. In her brief remarks, she shared details of an upcoming report called “The Changing Wealth of Nations” which will be released in December. This report looks at natural, produced, and human capital in addition to net financial assets in 141 countries over a time span of 20 years.

Oxford University Professor Paul Collier gave a keynote address in which he spoke of the “fiction” of flow data and called for a change in how total wealth is estimated. Moderated by the Financial Times Africa Editor, David Pilling, a panel then delved deeper into the issue. The panel comprised Chola Chabala, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning in Zambia; David McCauley, VP of the World Wildlife Foundation and Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist of the Human Development Practice Group at the World Bank.

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Pass or Fail: Are Countries Doing Their Education Homework?

Policy makers, global education experts and civil society leader gathered today to shine the spotlight on education and the learning crisis as part of a conversation on concrete actions that countries can take to break the vicious cycle of low investment and poor results in education. The event aimed to mobilize everyone who has a stake in learning so that all children, regardless of where they are born, can realize the promise of education.

Farah Mohamed, the CEO of the Malala Fund, who moderated the event and introduced the panel, and said that the good news was that there are many who are concerned about the learning crisis. The World Bank’s CEO Kristalina Georgieva called for a greater focus on education access and quality, because as she noted, schooling is not the same as learning—and millions of children spend several years in school without learning basic reading or math skills.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s Minister of Finance, noted that her country’s budget allocates the recommended 20 percent to education— but that money is not enough. Sound policy, consistent teacher training, more active parent communities, and better use of technology for accountability are also critical, she said.

The panel also included Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, who underscored the importance of funding for education. Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, described the challenges of keeping children in school and the importance of keeping parents, local government and teachers accountable. Wendy Kopp, the CEO and co-founder of Teach for All, stressed the importance of cultivating local leadership to create better functioning education systems.

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Civil Society Townhall 2017

The Civil Society Town Hall with Jim Yong Kim and Christine Lagarde, the flagship event of the Civil Society Policy Forum, took place on Wednesday, October 11 from 5:30 – 6:30pm. Abdel-Rahman El Mahdi, founder and President of the Sudanese Development Initiative, moderated the event. The Town Hall was held in the Preston Auditorium to accommodate the increasing number of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that attend the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings, which is indicative of the increasing engagement between the Bank and CSOs. Around 350 CSOs attended in person, with more viewing the event via livestream in English, Spanish, and French. More than 200 people engaged in those three languages on social media during the livestream.

Each year at the Annual Meetings, the Civil Society Town Hall provides an opportunity for President Kim and Managing Director Lagarde to discuss common areas of interest with members of civil society. The event on Wednesday kicked off with questions on the role of civil society in the Bank’s and IMF’s work and went further to discuss issues related to gender and access to capital; policies to address inequality; support for countries dealing with the fallout from natural disasters; tracking emissions in Bank-funded projects; and the Human Capital Project. The President also announced at the Town Hall that the Bank would start keeping a scorecard to track greenhouse gas emissions across the Bank’s project portfolio in Fiscal Year 2019.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

2017 Annual Meetings Opening Press Conference

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim addressed the press during the World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund 2017 Annual Meetings. Watch the replay>>

Supporting Working Parents: Tackling Childcare

IFC hosted the Supporting Working Parents: Tackling Childcare event at the 2017 WBG-IMF Annual Meetings to draw attention to the growing need for childcare options for working parents. Businesses, economies, and workers and their children all benefit when companies offer childcare options to employees.

Nena Stoiljkovic, Vice President of Blended Finance and Partnerships, IFC, highlighted the key findings from the recently released Tackling Childcare: The Business Case for Employer-Supported Childcare report, noting that no country, community, or economy can meet the challenges of the 21st century without addressing the childcare needs of employees.

Panelists Ram Kumar Gupta, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, India; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women; Farhan A. Ifram, CEO, MAS Kreeda Al Safi; and Stephen Kramer, President, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, discussed industry best practices and explored new approaches to address childcare. Gillian Tett, U.S. Managing Editor, the Financial Times, moderated the dialogue.

The speakers emphasized that if the world were to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically those related to poverty, health and well-being, and gender equality, then public and private sectors must come together to explore innovative childcare solutions.

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Digital Economy for Development

Several leading technology trailblazers came together to discuss how digital technology is disrupting development and what could be done to level the playing field and harness its benefits. World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia discussed how their two organizations could together help grow the inclusive sustainable tourism sector and help entrepreneurs in developing countries gain more income while acquiring new skills.

Gebbia discussed the company’s beginnings and highlighted the importance of designing solutions with the end user in mind. He attributed Airbnb’s success to the effort made to understand their customer’s concerns in the initial phase of their growth. The 10-year-old company now has four million listings in 191 countries around the world. They are expanding their model, and recently launched the Open Homes initiative, to help provide shelter to refugees and those affected by natural disasters.

They were followed by brief remarks by Philippe Le Houerou, CEO, IFC, on scaling up the benefits of the digital economy, which cued in a panel of digital movers and shakers, which included Eric Jing, CEO, Ant Financial Services Group; Nandan Nilekani, co-founder, Infosys; Sue Siegel, CEO, GE Ventures; Greg Wyler, Executive Chairman of OneWeb; Mats Granyrd, Director General GSMA; and Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO, Acumen.

They discussed how the digital economy digital identification systems and mobile technology are crucial in providing the basis for access to services such as banking, electricity, healthcare and much more. The data and privacy conversation was a thread that underscored the importance of handling and regulating data more carefully as we move into the Internet of Everything era. The need for a global framework to protect individuals’ data was thought to be crucial in preparing a secure digital future for everyone. They also emphasized how corporations, governments and organizations like the World Bank Group can come together to deliver essential services while also generating profit. The conversation also highlighted the importance of expanding connectivity and bridging the global digital divide in order to make these opportunities a reality for everyone. In that regard, the panel agreed that a crucial value-added of the Bank Group was also to help provide the basic digital infrastructure that could make these opportunities a reality for everyone around the world.

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Technology and Civic Engagement: New Approaches

This event brought together the perspectives of a Nigerian commissioner whose state is using a mobile app to engage citizens in monitoring public infrastructure projects; a program officer from a foundation working to improve the provision of public services through accountability mechanisms; the executive director of an accountability NGO that works to ensure that development projects are inclusive of and accountable to the citizens they are intended to benefit; a technology entrepreneur and philanthropist who is creating platforms to engage youth displaced by conflict; and a CSO practitioner working to develop tools that respond to organic social movements to help mobilize citizen action in Brazil.

In her opening remarks, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva said that the World Bank’s commitment to inclusive and sustainable development brings with it the responsibility to promote citizen engagement and help amplify peoples’ voices in the “high corridors of power”. She said we can no longer think of institutions as separate from citizens, and that everyone at the Bank should be “door openers” for civic engagement.

The panel talked about both the promises and limitations civic tech at a time when civic space is narrowing around the world. They noted that while technology has enabled millions around the world to engage, it can also further exclude those without access. As such, it cannot fully replace traditional ways of engaging with citizens like town halls, community outreach, and radio programs. The panel agreed that while not a silver bullet, civic tech plays a critical role in the “accountability ecosystem” and that innovating civic tech should be an iterative process in which we ask who is missing today and how can we reach them tomorrow. They also discussed how can we better use civic tech as a constructive space that brings people together to solve problems – to be “human” in engaging with each other.  

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Future of Manufacturing

The Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice hosted an event on October 12 that focused on the ways technology is affecting how and where goods are made. Panelists at the event included Mary Hallward-Driemeier, Senior Economic Adviser in the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group; Raj Batra, President of Digital Factory at Siemens; Raj Rao, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility; and Li Yong, Director General of UNIDO. Shawn Donnan, World Trade Editor for the Financial Times, moderated the discussion.

The panelists agreed that there are opportunities in manufacturing for developing countries. Looking ahead, localization and customization of production will offer openings for growth and employment, as will services, which are increasingly becoming embedded in manufacturing.

But in order to create the jobs of tomorrow, developing countries need to focus on policies that build an enabling environment, consisting of the “3 Cs” – connectivity, connectedness, and capabilities. Building human capital is critical for developing countries, particularly if they want to adopt new technologies. Strengthening capabilities that require a human touch and thus cannot be automated – such as management, strategy and creative innovation - will also be vital for jobs of the future.

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From our Facebook Live interview series today

Joe Gebbia, Co-founder of Airbnb, talks about the new digital economy and its impact on development.

Raj Rao, Chief Executive Officer of Ford Smart Mobility, talks about transport mobility.


The Belt & Road Initiative: Building Bonds Across Asia, Europe and Beyond

During the World Bank IMF Annual Meetings an array of leaders expressed strong support and optimism for the Belt and Road initiative, launched by China’s President Xi Jinping in 2013 and described as the largest infrastructure project in history.

The BBC’s Tanya Beckett moderated the discussion which focused on the benefits of the massive, multiyear mission to connect 65 countries across the Eurasian continent through improved infrastructure, lower trade barriers, financial cooperation and improved social cohesion to name some.

The benefits of multilateral cooperation through the project was a theme echoed by all panelists.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said the world needs multilateral approaches like the Belt and Road. He said the initiative has the potential to spur economic growth and urged the need for policy reforms in order for countries to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the initiative. The Bank Group – including all its institutions – is supporting the Belt and Road Initiative and will work with countries as needed to leverage the initiative’s full benefits. The World Bank Group is one of six international financial institutions that signed an agreement in May 2017 to collaborate on the Belt and Road Initiative.

China’s Vice Minister of Finance Shi Yaobin said that while the idea originated in China, the Belt and Road will benefit the entire world. International cooperation is both key to its success and a long-term benefit of implementation.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank President Jin Liqun said his institution will work to ensure Belt and Road investments uphold high environmental and social standards. He said wide consultation, joint construction and shared benefits are the principles laid out by China for the initiative.

Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Erbolat Dossaev described the Belt and Road as a major opportunity for his landlocked country, bringing new infrastructure and social development and helping to diversify the economy and alleviate poverty.

Cooperation to connect countries for more trade and investment is needed in this day and age, said Indonesia’s Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati. She expressed optimism that the initiative would bring inclusive economic growth to Indonesia.

Kim ended the discussion with a call to embrace integration and multilateral approaches. This will have a huge impact on ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity, he said.

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Sustainable Mobility

In the first-ever open Annual Meetings event dedicated entirely to the transport sector, leaders and influencers came together to share their vision for the future of mobility. The premise of the discussion was simple: with transport demand at an all-time high, countries cannot continue to embrace unsustainable policies that keep expanding the carbon footprint of the sector, lead to alarming rates of road fatalities, and leave behind many disadvantaged communities.

UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh opened the session with a powerful statement highlighting the need to move from words to action. While mobility challenges are complex, Yeoh, an acclaimed actress, noted that “it is up to us to write our own script” to create a better tomorrow.

She then turned the floor over to a high-level panel composed of Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank; Jean Todt, President of the Federation Internationale de l ’Automobile and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Raj Rao, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility, and Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation.

Road safety was mentioned multiple times as one of the most urgent priorities for the sector, with Jean Todt calling for stronger political leadership and increased collaboration between the UN system and other organizations such as the World Bank-led Global Road Safety Facility.

There was a great sense of optimism about the potential of technology and digital innovation to overcome many of the challenges faced by transport, and to open the door to entirely new mobility solutions. Raj Rao, for instance, presented a new autonomous shared minivan concept that could seamlessly ferry commuters between public transport stations and their final destination, potentially solving the critical issue of “last mile connectivity” while boosting the attractiveness of mass transit. Likewise, Dr. Nasr described how newcomers like Uber were creating a range of new commuting options for the residents of traffic-clogged Cairo.

The panel also insisted on the importance of expanding both traditional and cutting-edge mobility solutions to everyone. Kristalina, in particular, drew on her recent experience of the suburban train system in Mumbai to exemplify how critical it is for decision-makers and planners to take into account the specific transport needs of all groups, including women and low-income residents.

This event was co-organized by the Global Themes VPU and the Transport & ICT Global Practice, with support from the Sustainable Mobility Initiative (SuM4All) and the Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF).

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MIGA Thirty Year Anniversary Event: Innovating to Mobilize Private Capital

On October 12th, MIGA celebrated its 30th year anniversary by hosting an interactive panel on Innovating to Mobilize Private Capital.

The event kicked off with a video on MIGA’s partnership with Jordan in using innovative tools to attract private capital for the energy sector. The panelists then shared their perspectives on how to draw investment into developing countries.

The panelists included: Keiko Honda, Executive Vice President and CEO, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); Kristalina Georgieva, CEO World Bank; Philippe H. Le Houérou, CEO, IFC; Bill Winters, CEO, Standard Chartered; and Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, Ghana.  The event was moderated by Christopher Bishop, managing editor of Forbes Africa.

Bill Winters spoke about the concerns that investors have and the types of instruments they need to slice the risk. Philippe and Keiko both elaborated on the Jordan case study, which showcased how the IFC and MIGA are working collaboratively with governments. Minister Ofori-Atta spoke about the political and economic landscape of Ghana and the challenges and rewards of investments in Africa.  Kristalina provided views on diverse strategies to reduce barriers to finance in developing countries.

During the event, Keiko Honda reflected on 30 years of MIGA leadership and the development impacts MIGA has created.

Watch the replay>>

Friday, October 13, 2017

2017 Annual Meetings Plenary

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde speak at the October 13 plenary session of the Annual Meetings in Washington, DC. Watch the replay>>

From our Facebook Live interview series today

Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, talks about closing the energy access gap.

Anta Babacar, CEO of Sedima Group, and Nour Al Hassan, Founder and CEO of Tarjama, discuss how women entrepreneurs play a critical role in economic development.

Achim Steiner, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), on how development in fragile and conflict affected countries is a critical part of preventing violent extremism, that can help us reach the goal to #EndPoverty by 2030.


Human Capital Summit: Committing to Action to Drive Economic Growth

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim opened this action-oriented Summit with a strong investment case for human capital, which is a critical development priority for the world.

A World Bank Annual Meetings Flagship event, the Human Capital Summit provided a platform for world leaders to make commitments and share the actions they are taking to invest in people in their respective countries and/or globally.

There is new evidence today that human capital is a clear path to ending extreme poverty and boosting national wealth and economic growth. In fact, the World Bank Group's Human Capital project, announced by President Kim at Columbia University last week is an accelerated effort to encourage investment in people.

The Summit today focused specifically on several key themes: the early years, nutrition, universal health coverage (UHC), quality of education, skills and jobs, youth, and women and girls. 

President Kim was joined by H.E. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia; Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom; Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Prime Minister, Cote d’Ivoire; Luis Caputo, Minister of Finance, Argentina; Lilliane Plouman, Minister of International Development, The Netherlands; and Tone Skogen, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway. Lerato Mbele, presenter of Africa Business Report on BBC World News, was moderator.

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What is the Role of Multilateral Development Banks in the 21st Century?

The heads of six Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) came together on Friday afternoon for a conversation, organized by the Operations Policy and Country Services vice presidency, about the value proposition of the multilateral system and how MDBs are responding to the ever increasing challenges of the modern world.

The panelists included Charles Boamah, Senior Vice President of African Development Bank; Takehiko Nakao, President of Asian Development Bank; Suma Chakrabarti, President of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Werner Hoyer, President of European Investment Bank; Julie Katzman, Executive Vice President of Inter-American Development Bank; and Kristalina Georgieva representing the World Bank Group. These MDBs are working together under a G7 initiative.

They spoke about the different evolution of their organizations, including changing mandates and the urgent need to respond to challenges, such as inequality, climate change, pandemics, fragility and conflicts. The conversation, moderated by Tanya Beckett of BBC News, highlighted the different strengths of each organization and how they complement each other.

Together, they stressed the importance of coordinated approaches and the crucial role of MDBs in deploying a broad range of financing products, providing cutting edge knowledge, drawing on their convening power, and leveraging public and private financing. The main message: In this complex and evolving development landscape, no MDB can succeed individually.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017
Taking Women-owned Business to the Next Level

Highlighting the stories of three successful women entrepreneurs, “Taking Women-owned Businesses to the Next Level” focused on the barriers women face when trying to build and expand their businesses.

The session featured Nour Al-Hassan, who transformed her translation business from two employees to more than 200; Win Win Tint, who expanded her family’s single supermarket into a leading modern retail company; and Anta Bathily, who worked her way up from the bottom of her father’s poultry business to lead the company’s efforts to diversify into other agribusiness enterprises.

Women entrepreneurs not only need access to finance, but they also need access to mentoring, technology, and knowledge, according to a panel discussion hosted by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

Kim was joined on the panel by Ivanka Trump, advisor to the US President, who spurred efforts to create the Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative (We-Fi), a new facility backed by 14 countries to help knock down the unfair and unequal obstacles that stifle women-owned business.  We-Fi, which held its first operational meeting this week, has just opened its doors for business. It’s the first significant fund committed to a holistic approach to support women-owned businesses, leveraging public and private sector efforts. 

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From our Facebook Live interview series today

Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, discusses Poland’s economic development.

Maximizing Finance for Development

A high-profile panel on maximizing finance for development, with Dr. Kim, President Kagame of Rwanda, and the CEOs of Standard Chartered, the NZ Super Fund, and the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) of India, was held at Annual Meetings. Key takeaways follow: 

President Kagame pointed out that the prosperity Rwanda needs cannot come from just the public or the private sector alone, and noted that only when they work together can they maximize finance for development.

Renu Sud Karnad of HDFC, agreed that the regulatory framework is often an obstacle for private investment. She explained that IFC was a founding shareholder of HDFC, and it was a leap of a faith as HDFC had no framework when they started. Subsequently, HDFC has built the housing finance market in India and helped create housing industry standards and regulations.

Adrian Orr of NZ Super Fund, indicated that there’s a “wall” of money that wants to get into “frontier” markets, but the two can’t meet at the moment. He applauded the World Bank Group’s leadership in acting as a clearinghouse for investment opportunities and in trying to stabilize regulatory frameworks and standardize the investment procurement framework. 

Bill Winters said that Standard Chartered, an investment bank founded in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, is focused on creating the facility to allow underlying businesses to grow and that their value is in catalyzing or bridging the portion of capital that allows an unfinanceable project to get financed.

Dr. Kim highlighted the imperative of maximizing finance to provide the crucial resources needed to finance the SDGs: Maximizing finance is the only chance that we have to provide enough resources to invest in infrastructure, transport, ICT, education and health and to make sure that everyone in the developing world can compete in the digital economy of the future.

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