Sapa-AFP New Delhi
the World Bank would funnel more development support to India’s poorest states as part of its drive to end poverty globally within a generation, bank president Jim Yong Kim said yesterday.
Kim, on his first trip to the nation of 1.2 billion people since becoming the bank’s president last July, said that India’s seven poorest states were home to more than 200 million people who had no access to education, health care and other basic services.
“Achieving the World Bank Group’s mission of ending global poverty will require us to step up our support for India’s poorest citizens,” Kim told the media in New Delhi.
During his three-day visit, Kim held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders and said he had gained a deeper understanding of India’s challenges.
The seven low-income states house half of India’s estimated 400 million people living on less than $1.25 (R11) a day – the World Bank’s definition of dire poverty. The bank said the plan to focus development resources on these states would not mean any increase in the $3 billion to $5bn it lends annually to India.
Since assuming the job of bank president, Kim has been seeking to recast its image to make fighting poverty a main focus and refashion the institution as “the solutions bank” that dispenses expertise and not only development loans.
He recounted that after he graduated from university in the US he took part in a protest against the World Bank’s “proscriptive policies focused only on growth”, but said things had changed dramatically at the institution.
At the same time, “we have to be smart about fighting poverty – we have to have economic growth because without growth you can’t lift people out of poverty”, Kim added.