Welcoming AIIB to fight poverty

By Jim Yong Kim
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, June 8, 2015
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The signing ceremony of memorandum of understanding on establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is held in Beijing, Oct 24 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

Over the past 25 years, with almost no notice or acclaim, more than 1 billion people lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, thanks in large part to governments that promoted economic growth and invested in people.

Today, fewer than 1 billion people remain in such difficult circumstances. We now have the opportunity to be the first human generation in history to end extreme poverty. It will not be easy and will take the coordinated efforts of many organizations, but it's entirely doable.

Still, the world needs more champions to fight poverty. That's why I warmly welcome the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).We believe the AIIB has great potential to help Asia build power plants, roads, bridges, schools, and clinics that will create jobs and boost economies.

When it comes to promoting development in low-and middle-income countries, there's no reason for institutions to be rivals. Indeed, there's more than enough work to go around to fight a common, old enemy: poverty.

Building new infrastructure will be critical. We are currently doing all we can now with our private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, and through our public sector work, to support countries in identifying and then financing bankable infrastructure projects. The gap in infrastructure funding for developing countries remains enormous - estimated to be $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion a year - and any new funding source for roads, rail, seaports, airports, and other infrastructure should help the poor.

We are already working with the AIIB, sharing our expertise in laying the foundations for a new structure, just as we did for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. With strong environment, labor and procurement standards, the AIIB can become a powerful new force in development.

There's no doubt that the aspirations of leaders to promote development have grown in middle-and low-income countries. Many understandably want to accelerate their nation's ascent into middle-or high-income status.

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