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Raising the Bar: What Works to Reduce Poverty and Spur Growth

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Ministers discuss how to grow their way out of poverty

Inclusive growth and poverty reduction took center stage at Raising the Bar: What Works to Reduce Poverty and Spur Growth, where ministers representing low- and middle-income countries joined World Bank Group President David Malpass to share successes, challenges and ideas to spur growth.

Mohamad Al-Ississ, Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and State Minister for Economic Affairs, stressed his country’s growth despite the Syrian refugee crisis. Niger’s Minister of Planning, Aïchatou Boulama Kané, touted the 3Ns initiative that is tackling rural poverty and hunger. Kenya’s Central Bank Governor, Patrick Njoroge, highlighted the revolution in financial inclusion due to digital technology, pointing out that 90% of transactions happen on mobile phones.

Al-Ississ and Njoroge agreed that reforms can pay dividends in the medium to long term, but in order to give people hope in the short term, countries need to address unemployment, help small businesses, and ramp up social protection and human development. Kané focused on ways to transform the rural economy and increase women’s economic inclusion.

Malpass spoke about the importance of trade facilitation and stressed the need for debt transparency.  He also highlighted connecting markets, lowering transaction costs for remittances, and addressing urban sprawl that can put a stress on resources such as water. The panel was moderated by Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, World Bank Group Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions.