United States’ nominee for World Bank Group President, Ajay Banga began his global tour on Monday, with his first stop in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire where he met the African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina, senior management and Board of Directors.
Banga spoke about the need for the World Bank Group to develop a strong partnership with the African Development Bank Group that would help deliver transformative results.
The candidate for the World Bank top job highlighted three major issues affecting many parts of the world, which he said were of significant concern to him. He said these were inequality, tension between humanity and nature, and the tendency to apply short-term solutions to long-term problems which only delivers poor results. Banga said the challenges facing the world got complicated because of the Covid 19 pandemic, environmental degradation, and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine War.
The former Mastercard CEO emphasized the role of technology in helping to tackle challenges facing the world. He also talked about the role of the private sector in mobilizing much-needed capital resources for significant economic development. He said this applied both to private sector capital, as well as to private sector ingenuity and innovation, which are needed to tackle the many challenges facing the world.
Adesina said Banga’s call for a regenerated partnership resonated with him. He stressed the need for a new way of working between the World Bank and the African Development Bank. “It is more than financial. It’s more about how we work to optimize resources by engaging governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to deliver meaningful change.”
Adesina said climate change remained the most serious existential threat to humanity. “Climate change is decimating lives, displacing people, creating refugees and deepening poverty,” he stressed.
He warned: “It is what I call the triangle of disaster. You have increasing poverty, rising youth unemployment and environmental degradation, and this is breeding ground for terrorism.”
The African Development Bank head called for a global security council on environment and biodiversity, issues which he said were not getting the attention they deserved, compared to other global challenges such as war.
Adesina called for a new way of measuring the wealth of nations instead of basing it on gross domestic product. “This does not consider important factors like a country’s contribution to carbon emission and impact on biodiversity.”
“Globally, there is need for greater responsibility to tackle the impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and protect biodiversity,” the African Development Bank head said.
Adesina underscored the need for increased economic opportunities, particularly in rural areas, where infrastructure investment is crucial. He said thirty-four heads of state attended the recently held Dakar 2 Food Summit and committed to country food and agriculture delivery compacts. He said that close to 52 billion dollars of intended support to agriculture and food security had been identified from developing partners for the next three-year period.
Adesina called for a similar approach to solving the problem of lack of energy in Africa, where more than 600 million people lack access to energy. He explained that this could be resolved through initiatives like the African Development Bank-led Desert to Power initiative, which aims to deliver green electricity to more than 200 million people across eleven countries by using solar capacity.
On the 23rd of February, President Joe Biden announced Ajay Banga as the United States’ nominee for President of the World Bank Group. The institution’s current president, David Malpass, recently announced his intention to step down by the end of June 2023.