World Bank seeks to halve extreme poverty by 2020

Reuters

By Anna Yukhananov

WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - World Bank President Jim YongKim said on Wednesday the global development lender must work tohalve extreme poverty in the next seven years if it is to reacha more ambitious target set for 2030.

Kim in April set a goal to reduce the number of peoplearound the world living on $1.25 a day to 3 percent by 2030. Itis 18 percent now.

In an interview with CNN, he said that this figure wouldhave to shrink to 9 percent by 2020 for the bank to stay ontrack.

"I'm prepared to take full responsibility for setting thistarget," said Kim, whose contract as World Bank chief expires in2017 but could be renewed.

Global poverty has tumbled from 43 percent in 1990 asemerging countries raised the living standards of hundreds ofmillions of their citizens.

But more progress could be harder to achieve. Most of thesuccess in easing poverty has been in China, while regions suchas South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa continue to struggle.

Fragile and conflict-ridden states also remain mired inpoverty and likely will be home to most of the world's poorestpeople in the next five years.

The World Bank has cited research that showed if developingcountries continue historical growth rates for the next twodecades, global poverty would only fall to 8 percent by 2030.

To achieve its goals, Kim said the bank was shaking up itsoperations. It plans to bring its disparate branches togetheraround development projects that can have the greatest impactwhile remaining useful to middle-income countries.

In the interview with CNN, Kim said the bank would make $400million in cuts to its administrative budget as it seeks to bemore effective and nimble, a move reported by Reuters on Monday.

"Will there be some staff cutbacks? You bet. There will be,"he said. "But we're not going into it with any number in mind."

Kim said the reorganization should be finished by the bank'snext fiscal year, which begins in July 2014.

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