US nominee for the president of the World Bank Ajay Banga in his column for Finanial Times spoke about how the pandemic, climate change and forced migration are eroding progress for the same persons whom the development efforts benefit. He said the tasks that lie ahead are intertwined and their scale only means that no institution can complete them by themselves. He also wrote about his journey, the role of the World Bank, and more.
World Bank needs to evolve in order to tackle the challenges its founders could not even fathom, said the US nominee for the president of the institution, Ajay Banga, in his column in Financial Times.
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Banga wrote about how the pandemic, climate change and forced migration are eroding progress for the same people whom the development efforts benefit. He said the tasks that lie ahead are intertwined and their scale only means that no institution can complete them by themselves.
"We should seize this moment to convert these challenges into greater opportunities for the most vulnerable. Meeting ambitious climate goals doesn’t mean sacrificing development or inclusive economic growth," Banga wrote in the column.
Last month, US President Joe Biden announced that Washington was nominating Banga, a former Mastercard CEO, to lead the World Bank after its current chief David Malpass announced plans to step down early.
Talking about how new technologies can help bypass the pathways of the past which have been emissions heavy, he mentioned how Kenya is generating most of its energy via renewable sources.
Banga believes that public-private partnerships as well as investments have made renewable energy cost-efficient. "We now need to invest in developing infrastructure, agricultural productivity, food security, and expanding shipping and trucking in a resilient and sustainable manner," he wrote, adding that young people, especially in the global south, deserve economic opportunities as well as the optimism it results in to make their lives and countries better.
The World Bank's role
According to him, the World Bank has a critical role to play as a force multiplier when it comes to coordinating global action. He said the World Bank's talented staff, every day, does vital and often unsung work.
"The scale of investments required for fighting inequality and climate change, and boosting productivity and growth, is in the many trillions of dollars each year. The bank should build on the recommendations of the G20 Capital Adequacy Framework to stretch every dollar it has. But working alone, it will fall short of what’s required. All multilateral development banks must work in tandem to maximise impact," he wrote, adding that more is required.
He wrote that the private sector will also be key as will the partnerships, which require to be strengthened between civil society, government and private enterprise. Banga stated the World Bank can deploy policy support, technical knowledge and financing, to be a catalyst that will mobilise the private sector address the challenges.
On India and his journey
Banga wrote that if he leads the World Bank, it would be the culmination of his entire life's work. "I grew up in India in a middle-class family. I received a good education and learnt the value of hard work," he wrote, adding that many people do not understand the opportunities he got. He said all the citizens of the world deserve a chance to make their lives better.
Banga stated that people and countries must be offered the opportunities they require to succeed so that "everyone can feel the hand of good fortune pushing them forward".
Why Banga is fit to lead the World Bank
"Managing this will require skills that I believe my background has given me," Banga wrote. Elaborating, he wrote at length about how in the private sector he has led organisations that span across the globe — comprising thousands of employees — closely engaging with the public sector.
He stated he has delivered on goals that have asked of him to transform teams to meet the constantly-changing world's demands, brought together business and government to secure more than $4 billion in commitments for investing in economic opportunities in the US. He has also advised an investment fund which channelled more than $800 million into the upcoming green technologies — this also included the ones in developing countries. "I believe that is exactly what the World Bank needs at this critical moment in time," he added in his FT column
He added that effectively leading the World Bank would also require an understanding of the challenges that countries as well as people face. He stated he is currently on tour to meet entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, development experts and government officials to hear of their vision of the World Bank's future.
Circling back to Kenya and the Ivory Coast, Banga wrote he has had the privilege of hearing from those people who have benefited from the institution's work. He stated that Abidjan residents told him their lives had been transformed after an investment that expanded access to electricity. Young entrepreneurs from Nairobi also showed Banga showed him how they benefited from the financing and expertise to launch clean tech stratus.
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