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19.04.2010 News

The end of the Third World?

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• Continued from Friday, April 16, 2010 The World Bank pioneered currency swaps, and uses swaps to protect against foreign exchange and interest rate risk. Our loans offer hedging opportunities to protect borrowers from foreign exchange or interest rate risk and even other risks such as droughts and catastrophes. By helping to develop local currency borrowing, linked to global markets, we helped shelter developing countries from the financial tidal waves of the recent crisis.

Financial innovation, when used and supervised prudently, has brought efficiency gains and protected against risk: the World Bank has pioneered livestock insurance for Mongolian herders; a Malawi weather derivative against drought; and the Caribbean catastrophe insurance pool. The latter gave Haiti an immediate $8 million in January when its earthquake struck faster money than from any other outside source.

As former President Zedillo of Mexico has cautioned, the problem for poor people is not too many markets, but too few: We need markets for microfinance or small and medium-sized enterprises, especially if run by women; markets to move, store, and sell goods; markets to save, insure, and invest.

Wall Street has exposed the dangers of financial innovation, and we need to take heed and serious actions. But development has shown its benefits. A G-7 populist prism can undercut opportunities for billions.

Climate Change Take climate change: The danger is that we take a rule book from developed countries to impose a one-size-fits-all model on developing countries. And they will say no.

Climate change policy can be linked to development and win support from developing countries for low carbon growth but not if it is imposed as a straitjacket. This is not about lack of commitment to a greener future. People in developing countries want a clean environment, too.

Developing countries need support and finance to invest in cleaner growth paths. 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity. The challenge is to support transitions to cleaner energy without sacrificing access, productivity, and growth that can pull hundreds of millions out of poverty.

Avoiding geo-politics as usual means looking at issues differently. We need to move away from the binary choice of either power or environment. We need to pursue policies that reflect the price of carbon, increase energy efficiency, develop clean energy technologies with applications in poorer countries, promote off-grid solar, innovate with geothermal, and secure win-win benefits from forest and land use policies. In the process, we can create jobs and strengthen energy security.

The developed world has prospered through hydro electricity from dams. Some do not think the developing world should have the same access to the power sources used by developed economies. For them, thinking this is as easy as flicking a switch and letting the lights burn in an empty room.

While we must take care of the environment, we cannot consign African children to homework by candlelight or deny African workers manufacturing jobs. The old developed country prism is the surest way to lose developing country support for global environment goals.

Managing for Crisis Response Take crisis response: in a world in transition, the danger is that developed countries focus on summits for financial systems, or concentrate on the mismanagement of developed countries such as Greece. Developing countries need summits for the poor. One lesson from this crisis is that effective safety nets prevented the loss of a generation unlike the Asian crisis in the 1990s.

Hearing the developing country perspective is no longer just a matter of charity or solidarity: It is self-interest. These developing countries are now sources of growth and importers of capital goods and developed countries services.

Developing countries do not just want to discuss high debt in developed countries; they want to focus on productive investments in infrastructure and early childhood development. They want to free markets to create jobs, higher productivity, and growth. Many are exploring how to use the innovation and efficiency of private markets to help provide and maintain public sector infrastructure and services.

New Role for Rising Powers But modernizing multilateralism isn't all about developed countries learning to adapt to the needs of rising powers. With power comes responsibility.

Developing countries need to recognize that they are now part of the global architecture. They have an interest in healthy, dynamic, flexible international systems for finance, trade, movement of ideas and people, the environment-- and strong multilateral institutions.

We need to find points of mutual advantage, making reciprocal gain possible. At the same time, we must recognize domestic political constraints and local fears. We need accords that every leader can sell at home.

What Does this Changing World Mean for Development? What does this changing world mean for development?

Development is no longer just North-South. It is South-South, even South-North, with lessons for all with open minds. It is conditional cash transfer programs in Mexico being studied around the world. It s Indians in Africa explaining the so-called white revolution that boosted milk production. It is a new world where developing countries are not only recipients but providers of aid and expertise. Nor is it about ideological panaceas, blue-prints, or one-size-fits all. In a multipolar economy, development is about pragmatism, learning from experience, recognizing how markets and business opportunities change, sharing ideas, and connecting knowledge, just as we connect markets, across innovative networks.

Nor is the future of development only about old concepts of aid: The sovereign and pension funds wanting to invest with the World Bank Group in Africa represent a new form of financial intermediation. This is not charity. This is investment looking for good returns. IFC is helping to lower information barriers and cut transaction costs. It is our aim to do nothing less than revolutionize financial flows to developing countries

Modernizing Multilateral Institutions How will we manage a new geopolitics for a multipolar economy where all are fairly represented in Associations for the Many, not Clubs for the Few?

If the tectonic plates are shifting, multilateral institutions must shift too.

The crisis has shown the possibilities of international cooperation, but it has also underscored the need to modernize and strengthen multilateral institutions to reflect a different world.

The new world requires identifying mutual interests, negotiating common actions, and managing differences across a much wider spectrum of countries than ever before. It requires institutions that are fast, flexible, and accountable, that can give voice to the voiceless with resources at the ready.

It requires institutions that reach out to partners, with humility and respect, ready to learn from others, that can act as global connectors pioneering a new world of South-South and South-North learning and exchange. It requires institutions that can demonstrate real results and can be held accountable when they falter.

The World Bank Group must reform to help play this role. And it must do so continually at an ever quicker pace. Government and public institutions tend to be slower to change than private organizations facing competition. We recognize this risk. To address it, we have launched the most comprehensive reforms in the institution s history.

We are Reforming to Become More Representative and Legitimate

A modernized World Bank Group must represent the international economic realities of the 21st Century, recognizing the role and responsibility of growing stakeholders, but also their diversity and special needs, and provide a larger voice for Africa.

Reflecting these needs, we are urging our shareholders to keep their promise to move to 47 percent or more ownership by developing countries this month.

But we are not stopping there. In a model unique among International Financial Institutions, shareholdings will be reviewed every five years to allow for changes based on the continuing economic growth and evolution of our shareholders, with the goal of achieving equity over time. For the first time, shareholdings would be based on a formula specifically developed to reflect the needs and mandates of the World Bank Group: they will not only reflect economic power but also contributions to our fund for the world s poorest countries.

Senior management now includes a record number of executives from developing countries as well as women. And we need to do even more.

We need to work with developing countries as clients, not as objects of development models from textbooks. We need to help them solve problems, not test theories. Yet problems need resources to fix them. We are Reforming by Adding Resources

Since the full force of the crisis hit in mid-2008, the World Bank Group has committed more than $100 billion to support developing countries. This broke all historical records. And I want to especially thank the World Bank Group staff who have risen to this challenge.

We got money where it is needed fast. Even though the World Bank Group has traditionally been a lender on long-term projects, our development disbursements have exceeded the IMF s crisis payments. When the World Bank Group stepped up to confront dangers, we depended on the effective and efficient use of resources on hand.

We will need more resources to support renewed growth and to make a modernized multilateralism work in this new multipolar world economy. Should the recovery falter, we would have to stand on the sidelines.

The World Bank is therefore seeking its first capital increase in more than 20 years. Shareholders face a decision to strengthen the Bank Group, or allow it to wane in influence, losing an effective multilateral institution and leaving it poorly resourced to cope with whatever comes next.

In addition to providing critical financial resources, we have been demonstrating just how modernized multilateralism can work. We are building cooperation among 186 countries that are our members.

Over half the resources raised to strengthen our capital will come from developing countries, through price increases and greater capital investments. Agreement on this package of measures, if successful, would represent a multilateral success story that contrasts with recent stumbles in climate change and trade.

Reforming to Become More Effective, Innovative, and Accountable Representation and resources alone are not enough. We must also b e more effective, responsive, innovative, flexible, and accountable.

We are reforming to sharpen our strategic focus where we can add most value -- focusing on the poor and vulnerable, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa; on creating opportunities for growth; on promoting global collective action such as in climate change, agriculture, water and health; strengthening governance; and preparing for crises.

We are reforming to modernize our products and services, fostering opportunities for innovation, and considering a new decentralization model that will enable us to apply cutting-edge skills closer to clients, while gathering, customizing and sharing knowledge and experience globally. We need global reach, but also local touch.

We are reforming to focus on results, strengthening our governance and anti-corruption efforts, including strong prevention, and leading other international institutions in becoming more transparent and accountable. We have a New Access to Information policy, based on the Indian and U.S. freedom of information laws, which will be the first but we hope not last of its kind among international institutions. We are launching a new open access policy for World Bank data. Just last week, we concluded an agreement with other multilateral development banks on the cross-debarment of corrupt individuals and companies.

And we are launching a corporate scorecard so we can be held more accountable. We know we make mistakes; if overcoming poverty were easy, it would have been eliminated long ago. By opening the shades for others to see what we are doing, how we are doing it, and with what results, we will catch errors more quickly and improve faster. Taken together, these reforms are transformational. This will no longer be your grandparents World Bank. It won t even be your parents.

Conclusion Reform cannot be a one-time effort. It must be a constant --adaptation and re-adaptation, with continuous feedback loops to meet changing realities.

We cannot predict the future with assurance. But we can anticipate directions and one is that the age of a multipolar global economy is coming into view.

This is no aberration, no blip. We still live in a world of nation-states. But there are now more states wielding influence on our common destiny. They are both developed and developing, spanning all regions of the globe. This can be all to the good. But the contours of this new multipolar economy are still forming. It needs to be shaped.

The modern multilateral system needs to fit these changes.

Modern multilateralism must be practical. It must recognize that most governmental authority still resides with nation-states. But many decisions and sources of influence flow around, through, and beyond governments.

Modern multilateralism must bring in new players, build cooperation among actors old and new, and harness global and regional institutions to help address threats and seize opportunities that surpass the capacities of individual states.

Modern multilateralism will not be a constricted club with more left outside the room than seated within. It will look more like the global sprawl of the Internet, interconnecting more and more countries, companies, individuals, and NGOs through a flexible network. Legitimate and effective multilateral institutions, backed by resources and capable of delivering results, can form an interconnecting tissue, reaching across the skeletal architecture of this dynamic, multipolar system.

Woodrow Wilson wished for a League of Nations. We need a League of Networks.

It is time we put old concepts of First and Third Worlds, leader and led, donor and supplicant, behind us.

We must support the rise of multiple poles of growth that can benefit all. Curled from