By Janet Ekstract and Nishat Mirza
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – This year’s annual joint International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings focused on two major themes: Education and Ending Poverty. The overriding factor for both in the 21st century is connectivity, major heads of state agreed.
The meetings which took place from October 14-20 in Washington D.C. are designed to bring a diverse group from a multitude of nations together to come up with creative solutions to the most common and longstanding issues worldwide.
This included 189 heads of state, academics, journalists, and civil society gathering together to collaborate on a range of crucial issues including poverty reduction, international economic development, and finance, building human capital and strengthening resilience.
Major topics for 2019 were focused in three main sectors: Gender Equality, End Poverty and World Prosperity.
World Bank President, David Malpass spoke at the panel on “End Poverty” stating: “The most important aspect to ending poverty is transparency, connectivity and peace.”
Connectivity is defined by a nation’s ability to have direct access to internet and web services. Malpass also added that education is absolutely essential to eradicate poverty and that many schools, as well as universities, require student online participation.
Malpass led a panel entitled “Raise The Bar” about what works in alleviating poverty where a number of prominent heads of state were in attendance. These included Jordan, Kenya and Nigeria among others. The Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Patrick Njoroge shared that: “In Kenya, 80% of adults have a mobile phone and 90% of transactions are done via mobile phones.
The Minister of Planning for Niger, Aichatou Boulama Kane added: “The greatest impact we have in terms of poverty intervention is in education. Education and some basic skill training takes people from abject poverty. In my opinion, one of the problems on my country is that very few people in government understand how to tackle poverty issues which means it’s difficult to come up with programs and policies that actually work.”
He added that the majority of people in rural areas are very difficult to reach and he said his government doesn’t have any intervention in those remote areas. Boulama Kane said that if there were access to internet and other technologies, those rural populations would be able to get proper skills and training in their villages provided the government of Niger participates with the assistance of The World Bank.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Bulgarian Economist Kristalina Georgieva emphasized: “We can’t achieve economic prosperity without including the work of women. “
A good example of how digital technology has pulled one nation out of least developed status is Bangladesh – who with the assistance of the IMF and The World Bank was able to create a ‘Digital Bangladesh Initiative’ which gives rural women an opportunity to work from their villages, creating art and images using web design skills learned locally.
Because of this program, Bangladesh is no longer dependent on the IMF which proves that connectivity is the key to eradicating poverty and lifting a whole population out of an otherwise impossible situation.
Both The World Bank and IMF work worldwide to achieve major goals especially for the UN 2030 Agenda.
The two major goals that both organizations want to achieve by 2030, are ending extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 a day to no more than three percent. Another goal is to promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40 percent for every country.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) commonly referred to as The World Bank is an international financial institution whose mission includes assisting development of its member nations territories promoting and supplementing private foreign investment and promoting long term balance of finances and programs within nations.
In addition, the IMF works to encourage global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, foster high employment and sustainable economic growth as well as reduce poverty around the world.