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Watch all the replays of the main events on: Debt, Sustainable Recovery, Human Capital, Digital Development and Poverty

Annual Meetings Live Blog—Don’t Miss a Beat!

That's a wrap! Thanks for joining us

We've made it through another World Bank Group-IMF Annual Meetings, and this year was definitely a bit different. With a truly virtual format, our events were livestreamed on World Bank Live and across our social media platforms. We engaged with YOU, the viewer, through our live show, live chats, polls, quizzes, and our digital mosaic. The latter, of which, had its big reveal on End Poverty Day (see our tweet below for the final image).

The Development Committee also met again (virtually), commending the World Bank Group and IMF for the speed and scale of their COVID-19 response, while urging continued work with member countries, the public and private sectors, local and bilateral development partners, and other organizations. Make sure to read the full story here

It's been fantastic having you here with us and we couldn't have done it without you. Thanks for joining us, and we hope to see you again in the Spring! Until then, take care. 


RECAP: End Poverty Day 2020

On Oct. 17, the World Bank Group marked End Poverty Day with an Annual Meetings event. Larry Madowo, BBC North America correspondent and the host for this event, began by reminding the audience that the global extreme poverty rate will rise for the first time since 1998, according to the recently released Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report.

Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank’s Managing Director of Operations, said “the Bank is extremely concerned” at the estimate “that between 88 and 115 million people will fall back into extreme poverty.” He noted that conflict and climate change are two prominent factors contributing to rise in extreme poverty, along with COVID-19.  

The poor are suffering disproportionately, and Pakistan is expanding social protection programs to help them, said Dr. Sania Nishtar, that country’s Federal Minister, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Ministry. A diverse group of speakers from countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, the United Kingdom, and Yemen shared their views on how to urgently tackle COVID-19, conflict, and climate change to halt this reversal of fortunes.

If you missed it, replay the video and tell us what you think in the comments or by using the #EndPoverty hashtag on Twitter.

12:08 PM – We close out with End Poverty Day 2020

With our fourth event over, only one event remains to close out our show—tomorrow morning, we tackle the poverty crisis on End Poverty Day 2020.

Thanks for being with us all week—we hope you’ve been enjoying the conversations that have been taking place, as well as the numerous activities we’ve been offering online to stay engaged. Don't forget to vote in the last poll, asking: What is the most important action to take to end poverty? and be sure to share your photo in our digital mosaic if you haven't already. We'll be having the big reveal tomorrow morning! 

Rest up and see you tomorrow at 10 am ET/14:00 GMT.

11:55 AM - RECAP: Closing the Digital Divide

Digital technologies have become vital. In times of crisis, from natural disasters to pandemics, digital connectivity is what is keeping people, governments and businesses connected. Yet half of the world’s population is still without internet access, with the vast majority concentrated in developing countries.

"Closing the Digital Divide" brought together global leaders and private sector innovators, including young African entrepreneurs, to discuss new ways to accelerate digital access and create ubiquitous, affordable, and reliable connectivity for all.

To connect the poorest and most vulnerable communities, panelists echoed the need for greater collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as the need for open access and shared networks. Regulation challenges also emerged as a common theme.

We heard a powerful call to action on behalf of women and girls, who are still being left out of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs in the tech revolution. Panelists emphasized education and training as key to leveling the playing field.

We also heard about successful interventions from tech leaders and entrepreneurs who are working to close the connectivity gap by creating scalable, sustainable platforms -- and jobs.

The virtual event concluded with a special musical tribute to the power of connectivity: an original song by popular African artists, "Stay Connected."

11:15 am – Get ready to take a trip to Afghanistan and the Central African Republic!

Our coverage of country spotlights continue this week with Afghanistan Country Director Henry Kerali, and Central African Republic Country Manager Hans Fraters. Tune in after our post-event Q&A session ends to hear what they had to say about how their respective countries are responding and recovering in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

10:14 am – Don't forget the live chat!

Got a question? A comment? Don’t forget to post them in the live chat for the event. We are working hard to see what you have to say, and your question may just be the lucky one to get sent down to our live show after the event! Today, we'll be joined by Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, as well as Chief Operating Officer of the International Finance Corporation and Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure. Submit your questions!

9:28 am – How do we close the digital divide?

Digital technologies have become vital. In times of crisis, from natural disasters to pandemics, digital connectivity is what’s keeping people, governments, and businesses connected. Yet half of the world’s population is still without internet access, with the vast majority concentrated in developing countries. In just 30 minutes, we’ll kick off our fourth event on what’s needed to accelerate digital access and create affordable, reliable connectivity for all. Watch live!

And don't forget to answer today's poll: What’s most needed to close the digital divide? We'll be revealing the answers later on in our post-show after the event concludes, which is also where your questions have a chance of being answered LIVE by our expert guests. So head on over to the live chat and submit your questions for today!

We'll see you soon, but first, make sure to catch our preview below on what to expect on Day 4 of our virtual Annual Meetings. 

2:05 PM - See you tomorrow!

The third day of our event coverage has come to an end, but don’t forget to join us again tomorrow morning as the conversation shifts to digital technologies and connectivity.

It all starts a bit earlier tomorrow at 10am ET/14:00 GMT. Till then, head on over to the event page to take our poll on what’s needed the most to close the digital divide. And if you haven’t already, bookmark our page for easy access back to our events!

We’ll see you tomorrow!

1:53 PM - Protect & Invest in People: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19

COVID-19 threatens to reverse gains in human capital outcomes by exposing weaknesses in health, education, and social protection systems. This event explores how immediate, longer-term, and forward-looking responses can lead to a more sustainable recovery.

Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships at the World Bank, describes COVID-19’s threat to human capital and outlines the Bank’s response as countries strive to contain the pandemic, save lives, and rebuild their economies.

We hear from frontline health workers as well as youth from across the globe on the challenges they are facing in responding to the pandemic, what measures they are taking to cope, and their ideas for building a resilient recovery. 

Bringing the focus to gender, Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, explains how women and girls are disproportionately affected, suffering from “shadow” pandemics and Mirai Chatterjee, Director of Social Security at the Self-Employed Women's Association in India, highlights the need to invest in frontline health workers, particularly women.

Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and the Chairperson of the African Union, shares remarks on how Africa’s strategic and collaborative response is focused on saving lives and protecting livelihoods.

The first panel features Abhijit Banerjee (Economist and Nobel Laureate), Azucena Arbeleche (Minister of Economy and Finance, Uruguay), Dr. Mai Alkaila (Minister of Health, West Bank and Gaza) and Reha Denemec (Deputy Minister of National Education, Turkey) discussing how investments in people can lead to a resilient, inclusive recovery.

Narender Dev Mantena (Head, Global Strategy and CEO, Biological E. Limited, India) and Mohammed Akoojee (Group CEO, Imperial Logistics, South Africa) join the private sector panel and explain how, with IFC support, vaccine manufacturing capacity is being increased and how mobile testing clinics could be used for primary health care services after the pandemic.

12:31 pm –Submit your questions on the live chat!

What do you think of the event so far? We’re nearly thirty minutes in, with another thirty to go. Make sure you submit any questions you have on the live chat and stick around after the event ends to see if it’s answered! Mamta Murthi, the Vice President for Human Development, World Bank, and Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, as well as Chief Operating Officer of the International Finance Corporation, will be joining us live to answer your questions!

11:11 AM - Settle in for the kickoff of our third flagship event on Human Capital

The COVID-19 pandemic risks wiping out a decade of human capital gains. Join us at 12pm ET for our third event: Protect & Invest in People: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19. We'll explore challenges and share ideas on how to protect human capital; safeguard the vulnerable; improve remote learning to ensure no child is left behind; deliver vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to those who need them most; and strengthen health systems for a more resilient future. 

Don't forget to take today's poll on what YOU think will be most important for a resilient, inclusive recovery, and be sure to ask your questions in the live chat! After the event will be our post-event show where we will go LIVE from the Atrium of the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C. Mamta Murthi, the Vice President for Human Development, World Bank, and Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, as well as Chief Operating Officer of the International Finance Corporation, will join us live to answer your questions!

You don't want to miss it. See you soon!

10:15 AM - Delivering Essential Education And Health Services As Countries Fight COVID-19


On Day 3 of our virtual Annual Meetings, hear from ministers and experts on why we must invest in people to build a resilient recovery.

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1:30 PM - We hope you enjoyed the live show!

It’s been a busy couple of days, but the discussions keep going. Join us for another eventful day tomorrow as we talk about human capital in the era of COVID-19.

The event begins at 12pm ET and in the meantime, remember to engage with us online using #ResilientRecovery, and bookmark World Bank Live for a full schedule of events.

1:24 PM - A Sustainable Recovery for People and Planet

How can the world recover from the coronavirus pandemic while also addressing climate change and biodiversity loss? A Sustainable Recovery for People and Planet brought together policymakers, youth leaders, civil society organizations and global experts to tackle this question during the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, with its theme of a resilient recovery from the pandemic. A  young activist from Indonesia perhaps summed it up best when she described the potentially transformative impact of the pandemic: “If there is one thing COVID-19 has shown, it is we can no longer go back to business as usual,” said Melati Wijsen, a youth leader whose efforts have helped to reduce plastic waste on her home island of Bali. “In a post-pandemic world, “we have to accelerate the solutions we wish to see in our world today.”

Moderated by former CNN anchor Zain Verjee, the event focuses on the actions and investments needed today to unlock short term gains, such as jobs and economic growth, as well as deliver the longer-term benefits of resilience, decarbonization, cleaner air and water, healthier oceans, and more sustainable food and agriculture systems.  “The big challenge is how do we build back greener and build back better in a new environment as we come out of the recovery,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass in his opening remarks.  “People need to make the right investments now.”

Fiji Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum explained why such investments in resilience are critical. “For countries on the frontlines of climate change, like Fiji, building back better is a question of life or death.” In 2016, Cyclone Winston wiped out one-third of the value of Fiji's GDP within 36 hours. “We realized we had to build back better, and it paid off—the structures that were built back better have not been damaged in the seven cyclones we've had since then,” he said. With governments and institutions investing as much as $12 trillion in COVID-19 recovery, “this is an important moment now to reset our economies and build back in a way that tackles the climate and COVID crises together,” said Helen Mountford, Vice President, Climate & Economics, of the World Resources Institute.  Costa Rica plans to link the climate and crisis challenges, using the country’s long-term decarbonization plan “as a centerpiece to address the COVID crisis and to recover better,” said María del Pilar Gonzalo, Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy.

The event addressed how a sustainable recovery can restore ecosystems, reverse biodiversity loss, create better food systems and jobs. “We are a country that has no choice but to go sustainable and all our policies are taking into consideration sustainability,” said Mozambique’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Celso Correia. By introducing new methods of producing agriculture, “we are reducing also emissions but protecting the forestry.”  Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO of the Global Environment Facility, said the recovery “is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reset our relationship with nature and to scale up nature-based solutions that can help our forests and land to absorb carbon and protect biodiversity.  Nobody can prosper on a sick planet. It's in our own self-interest to protect and invest in nature.” 

The event also looked ahead to next year’s climate change meeting, COP26, along with the Convention on Biological Diversity, when new targets for the conservation, sustainable use, and sharing of benefits from biodiversity will be decided. “Ahead of COP26, let’s work together to make a green recovery a reality around the world, creating a prosperous and sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. We owe that to current and future generations,” said Alok Sharma, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and COP26 President.

12:30 PM – Submit your questions on the live chat!

What do you think of the event so far? We’re about thirty minutes in, with another thirty to go. Don’t forget to submit any questions you have on the live chat for our event on sustainable recovery. We’ll be answering some of your questions live with expert guests after the show! Make sure you’re tuning in.

11:30 AM – Get ready to tune in for our second event on sustainable recovery!

In just 30 minutes, our second event begins on A Sustainable Recovery for People and Planet. It will look at how countries can best incorporate climate, nature and social inclusion in their stimulus packages and recovery plans. It will also look ahead to next year’s COP26, along with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), when new targets for the conservation, sustainable use and sharing of benefits from biodiversity will be decided.

Be sure to tune in and ask your questions in the live chat for a chance to see them answered live from our Atrium after the event!

9:00 AM - 2020 Annual Meetings Opening Press Conference

This morning at 10:45 am ET/14:45 GMT, World Bank Group President David Malpass will address the press during the World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund 2020 Virtual Annual Meetings. 

President Malpass will share his views on the key outcomes from the Development Committee, as well as the G7 and G20 discussions. He will also report on the World Bank Group's response to the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us live!

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4:50 PM - Recap: Civil Society Townhall with President David Malpass

How is the World Bank Group focusing on resilient recovery in the post-pandemic era? In the first virtual Civil Society Townhall held on October 13, World Bank Group President David Malpass discussed the Bank’s efforts to protect human capital, address countries’ excessive debt burdens, and facilitate an inclusive, resilient recovery from COVID-19. Joining him were Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, Vice President of the LAC region; Jean-Christophe Carret, Country Director, DRC, Angola and Burundi; Stephanie von Friedeburg, Chief Operating Officer at IFC; and Victoria Kwakwa, Vice President of the EAP region.

The CSO Townhall provides an opportunity for civil society representatives to dialogue with the President and Bank leadership. Around 150 Civil Society representatives participated in the event which was conducted via Zoom. The event was also streamed on World Bank Live to a wider audience. CSOs posed questions on topics such as climate change and resilience; debt relief and the DSSI initiative; inclusion of marginalized communities such as peoples with disabilities; support for public health programs, anti-corruption and accountability measures; and the role of the Bank in supporting countries experiencing conflict and fragility during COVID-19.

President Malpass and the panel gave an overview of the Bank’s efforts to help countries respond to the crisis and build back better. Depending on the needs of countries and regions, the World Bank Group is focused on alleviating poverty and inequality, debt relief for the poorest countries, increasing access to strengthened health systems and reduced health care costs, expanding safety nets, ensuring climate change adaptation and mitigation, and supporting the private sector. Inclusion of marginalized communities and vulnerable groups remains a top development agenda while carrying out these relief efforts.

2:15 PM - Recap: Defusing Debt - Creating Comprehensive Solutions

On October 13, David Malpass and global experts kicked off the 2020 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF with a detailed and important discussion about comprehensive solutions for rising public debt levels. 

During the event, we heard from a variety of people who offered compelling reasons why debt matters right now. Adriano Afonso Maleiane, Minister of the Economy and Finance in Mozambique, explained his country’s need to borrow in order to finance infrastructure and other critical investments in development. Odile Renaud-Basso of the Paris Club and The World Bank’s Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart cautioned about the risks a debt overhang could pose to countries’ ability to rebuild following the pandemic. Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children, emphasized the impact rising debt levels can have on future generations, while Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, talked about why increasing debt levels and rising inequality go hand in hand. Joyce Chang, J.P. Morgan Global Chair of Research, mentioned that it’s important not to restrict market access, and to think of innovative investment options for emerging markets. 

A key topic raised at the event that many panelists agreed with is that developing countries will need a long-term solution to debt reduction or resolution in the face of COVID-19. The current debt suspension organized by the G20, does not give countries the certainty they need. Nor does it compel the private sector to work with developing countries on debt reduction or relief. Greater transparency around how much governments borrow, for what reasons and from whom is critical to getting to effective solutions.

To close the event, actor and spokesperson for Global Citizen Idris Elba concluded with an inspiring message: “COVID has taught us that we can only succeed together. We have brought down poverty to historic lows. Solutions exist. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again. Now is the time to recover better, together.”

2:00 PM - We hope you enjoyed the live show!

We may be done with the first day and the first flagship event on Debt, but the conversation continues tomorrow on building a sustainable recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join us again tomorrow ahead of the event starting at 12pm ET as we bring you more insightful discussions, interviews, and ways to engage with this year’s 2020 Annual Meetings.

11:45 AM – Join the Live Show!

Head on over to our first flagship event on Defusing Debt and join us as we get you ready for this first event. Make sure you submit any questions you have on the live chat for the event. We’ll be answering some of your questions live with an expert guest as soon as our live show is over! Trust us when we say, you don’t want to miss this!

Before we begin, our colleagues will be telling you how YOU can interact with us this year with the many activities streaming across our social media platforms and websites. There’s even a fun, digital art project you can be a part of!

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

10:14 AM - Watch, Engage and Ask Your Questions

Today at 12 PM ET / 16:00 GMT, we kick off our first flagship event, Defusing Debt - Creating Comprehensive Solutions. This event will bring together a diverse group of experts—representing the perspectives of governments, private creditors, and debt-restructuring experts—as they discuss challenges and solutions to debt amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our team at the set preparing the Annual Meetings Live Show.

Be sure to tune in a little before noon for the start of our live show this week! We’ll be bringing you the five events every day, and speaking with some expert guests along the way. You can also find ways to engage with us throughout the show and take polls, quizzes, and everything else our virtual, interactive Meetings have to offer. 

Follow the hashtags for today's activities: 

#Debt4Dev | #ResilientRecovery

Engage with the below featured speakers from today's event: 

@DavidMalpassWBG | @carmenmreinhart | @KevinAtSave | @AGelpern | @Eric_LeCompte

Watch our hosts and moderators during today's live show: 

@matisridhar | PaulNBlake | @NoreyanaF

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The Pandemic Response: Building a Resilient and Inclusive Recovery

On October 5th, World Bank Group President David Malpass delivered a speech ahead of the Annual Meetings on ‘Reversing the Inequality Pandemic.’ The speech was hosted at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Also speaking at the event was Nils Stieglitz President and CEO of Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and Jens Weidmann President of the Deutsche Bundesbank. 

In his speech President Malpass outlined why a sustainable recovery from the pandemic will require growth that benefits all people. He discussed the need to alleviate poverty and inequality, the associated loss of human capital, reducing countries debt burdens and facilitating an inclusive and resilient recovery. These topics will be the focus of the Meetings, starting this week. 

Welcome to the 2020 Virtual Annual Meetings Liveblog

Visit this page daily for real-time coverage of the World Bank Group Annual Meetings events. Watch interviews with top development experts and global leaders and replay any session you may have missed. Answer a poll, ask a question, and find highlights from social media. 

Grab your phone, tablet or computer and follow along with us all week.

Your Live Blog team,

Bassam Sebti (@bsebti) | Srimathi Sridhar (@matisridhar)

Everything you need to know about the 2020 Annual Meetings

This year's World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings from October 12-18 will center around "Supporting a Resilient Recovery." Now, if you’re like those of us global development professionals, you’re anticipating attending some World Bank Group sessions, and hearing some amazing speakers. You’re probably also looking through the schedule trying to figure out which sessions to attend or tune in to. 

Well don't search any further! Here are six ways to follow and engage with our World Bank Group activities at the Annual Meetings.