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World Bank, IMF: Financial crisis turning into human, development crisis
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The number of chronically hungry people is expected to climb to over 1 billion this year, reversing gains in fighting malnutrition and making the need to invest in agriculture especially urgent.

"With simultaneous recessions striking all major regions, the likelihood of painfully slow recoveries in many countries is very real, making the fight against poverty more challenging and more urgent," said John Lipsky, IMF Deputy Managing Director.

 Justin Yifu Lin, chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank, speaks during the news conference on the Global Monitoring Report release at the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, April 24, 2009. Lin said that millions more people will lose their jobs in 2009.

The crisis will affect all developing countries over the next two years, through contracting export volumes, lower prices, slowing domestic demand, declining remittances and foreign investment, reduced access to financing, and shrinking revenues.

"For poor countries, this is a crisis upon crisis. It comes on the heels of the food and fuel crisis," said the report. "The triple jeopardy of the food, fuel, and financial crisis is pushing many poor countries into a danger zone, imposing rising human costs and imperiling development prospects."

Developing world growth is projected to fall to 1.6 percent in 2009, from an average of 8.1 percent in 2006-07, according to new IMF projections. Global output, meanwhile, is projected to contract by 1.3 percent this year.

"Worldwide, we have an enormous loss of wealth and financial stability," said Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank Chief Economist. "Millions more people will lose their jobs in 2009, and urgent funding must be provided for social safety nets, infrastructure, and small businesses in poor countries, for a sustainable recovery."

The GMR cautions that, while the crisis calls for a special focus on social protection programs and services that shield poor and vulnerable people from immediate hardship, it is also vital to speed up progress toward the human development goals, particularly those related to health where prospects are gravest.

"The crisis calls for a reaffirmation of the world's commitment to the promise of the MDGs and it gives added urgency to reinforcing key programs in health and education, such as control of major diseases including HIV/AIDS and malaria, health systems strengthening, and the Fast Track Initiative in education," said Zia Qureshi, lead author of the report and World Bank advisor.

(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2009)

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