World Bank President Kim: Private investment in infrastructure will create long-term growth Austrian Finance Minister Schelling welcomes World Bank President to "Debating Finance"

In front of around 400 guests, Austrian Finance Minister Dr Hans Jörg Schelling welcomed World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim to the debate "Global Challenges for a Prosperous Future", one in the Ministry's series of events entitled "Debating Finance" which, on this occasion, was held in the Vienna Sofiensäle. The evening was moderated by Christian Geinitz from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

In his opening statement, the World Bank President, who has held office since July 2012, focused on the World Bank's declared goals and how these could be achieved. "The World Bank has defined two specific goals: firstly, to end extreme poverty by 2030, which we understand to mean living on an income of less than USD 1.90 per day; secondly, to boost shared prosperity through increasing the income of the bottom 40% of the population," declared President Kim at the beginning of his speech. "We are on an excellent course, since in the last 30 years alone, we have been able to reduce extreme poverty from 35% to 10.7% of the global population. In real figures, this means that, since 1990, 1.1 billion people have been taken out of extreme poverty," added Kim. "However, we must urgently turn our attention to the remaining number of just under 800 million people who still live in extreme poverty."  

In specific terms, Dr Kim referred to three packages of measures which, in the eyes of the World Bank, can contribute towards ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity: "We must strengthen private investment in infrastructure projects in order to create long-term economic growth. We need education and health programmes in order to strengthen and increase so-called human capital, for only healthy and well-educated people have the capacity to support their country and ensure prosperity. Finally, we consider it essential to be better prepared for global crisis situations, such as climate change, pandemics and refugee flows," stated Dr Kim in conclusion. 

When asked about the future role of Europe, Austrian Finance Minister Dr Hans Jörg Schelling stated, "We live in a time of uncertainty as regards growth, the climate, the situation on the financial markets and, of course, the refugee situation. Our problem is that Europe is not finding any common solutions to these uncertainties, and as a result, individual states are forced to act. This then makes it difficult to adopt a collective line in order to meet global challenges," added Schelling. "Precisely for this reason, I consider the World Bank to be a reliable and experienced partner from which we can still learn a great deal in terms of providing people with the help to help themselves in those countries affected," he concluded. 

Through financial and technical aid, the World Bank Group supports developing countries worldwide. It comprises five institutions, and is administered by its 189 member countries. Founded in 1944 as a special organization of the United Nations, the Group has its headquarters in Washington and over 120 offices in locations worldwide, including Vienna. On the occasion of his visit, Dr Jim Yong Kim also opened the new enlarged premises of the Vienna World Bank office. Dr Kim was re-elected in September 2016 for a second five-year term of office.