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The Future of Resilience: Banking on Cities

  • Up to $5 trillion a year – that’s the estimated gap between the resilient financing needs of cities and the funding that’s available. In the latest Resilience Dialogue on Friday, a high-level panel of experts, officials and investors offered their insights into how cities can mobilize private financing to close that gap. 
     
    Moderated by international journalist Femi Oke, the panel featured Elizabeth Yee, Vice President of City Solutions, 100 Resilient Cities; Jessica Shannon, Partner, PwC; Jennifer Musisi, Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority; and Vazil Hudák, Vice President, European Investment Bank.
     
    Across the board, panelists agreed that official development assistance alone could not meet the ever growing resilient financing needs of cities. There was also a broad consensus, however, that development agencies can play a key role in closing the funding gap by using their technical expertise to help cities structure resilience projects that are attractive to private investors. Resilience projects, especially those which build resilience even before disaster strikes, have often struggled to demonstrate a return on investment to private investors, several panelists pointed out.
     
    World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva opened the session by highlighting the importance of good planning, smart investment, and resilient communities in building urban resilience. In keynote remarks, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, emphasized the urgency of building resilient cities against the backdrop of climate change.
     
    The Resilience Dialogue series is organized by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), in partnership with the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union, and Japan.

Moving from Financial Access to Inclusion: Leveraging the Power of Technology

  • With less than three years to reach the Universal Financial Access goal by 2020, Moderator Francine Lacqua of Bloomberg led a discussion in a packed Preston Auditorium on how we can push forward to meet this goal. 

    It began with a conversation between President Jim Yong Kim and H. M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. Highlighting data from the recently launched Findex, both agreed that achievements in financial inclusion have been made, but key steps are still needed between now and 2020. H. M. Queen Máxima explained that financial inclusion is a win-win for everyone but leadership is needed from the public sector and the private sector. Dr. Kim emphasized how technology can help provide people globally with access to capital and markets, and can really turn inequality around. 

    During the event’s second half, a wider panel discussion focused on how technology can speed up progress toward financial access and inclusion. For Cote d’Ivoire using mobile money has been key to financial inclusion, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly added that technology, is helping to also expand account ownership. For Eric Jing, CEO of Ant Financial, technology can create more inclusive, transparent, and reliable financial systems. 

    Panelists also agreed that gaps—including around gender—remain and need to be addressed. Rodger Voorhies of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, explained how his foundation believes in building a financial system that works for everyone. Adding that the BMGF is working to close the gender gap and reach farmers who still transact with cash. For Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, having women control their own finances is one of the greatest things for development.  

    HM Queen Máxima closed the event stressing that the global community needs to work together, target those left behind, go for low-hanging fruit, unleash private sector, and aim for fair competition.

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