A World Free of Poverty is Within Our Grasp

I had the privilege of listening to a speech at Georgetown University by the World Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim. What an inspirational man! Full of vision, a spirit of collaboration, compassion and insight. Here are some excerpts and thoughts on what he had to say.

He had some interesting collaborative and innovative approaches he mentioned and is employing:

  • “I was recently in Chengdu, China, where I met an entrepreneur named Zhang Yan. A few years back, she had big dreams to build a business but lacked access to finance. She was able to secure a $10,000 loan through a local bank’s initiative to finance female entrepreneurs -- a program supported by the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private sector lending arm. Zhang used her loan to open a car repair shop, and today, she runs a thriving business that employs more than 150 people. I just received an email from her over the weekend. She plans to open a third repair shop, and will continue to promote social responsibility by hiring and training women who have previously not had access to good jobs. Her story mirrors the experiences of millions of ambitious individuals across the globe. When they are given the chance to succeed in business, they seize it. In turn, they create jobs and opportunities for their neighbors.”
    • A few years ago when I was in China for the Global Summit of Women, the government announced that they had plans for a sizeable amount of funding for microloans for female entrepreneurs. It was very exciting to hear that they have followed through on this, and now women like Zhang and their communities are benefiting. Interestingly, the bank branch that she received her microloan from is a women-only branch. That’s an innovative approach to cultural challenges around equality. Also, she received a lot of press because she was interviewed by Jim Yong Kim, and now her business is growing tremendously and she’s opening a third location!
  • As business leaders, we can learn from his approach to true collaboration. He has brought together department heads from multiple organizations, and along with the leaders of those organizations asked the questions “What have been your successes?  Where have you been failing?  And what can we do, sitting right here at this table, to make it easier for you to work together?"
  • Opportunity for business professionals in the future is in the developing world. It is growing at 5%+ per year, compared to 1%+ in US.
  • Thoughts on overcoming discrimination. “The way to get over whatever discrimination you face is to think about the responsibilities you have today as a student at this great university to contribute to the future of children in places like Haiti.”
    • At Erase Poverty, we encourage our business members to utilize all the tools at their disposal to become as successful as possible. Not just for themselves, but so that they can contribute resources to help those in the world who have not had inclusion and access to education, financial services and opportunities.

 

Goals for the near future
1.       Accelerate the end of extreme poverty, committing to eradicating poverty by 2030.

a. "Meeting this 2030 goal will require extraordinary effort. But is there anyone, anywhere, who doubts that the reward will be worth it? Is there anyone who has lived on less than $1.25 a day who would not join me here today in telling you that it is time to end extreme poverty? Is there anyone who has seen the shantytowns of Johannesburg or Addis Ababa or Dhaka or Lima who would not commit to help build a better life for all who live there? Is there anyone here today who would not want to erase this stain from our collective conscience?”
b.  "India’s contribution to ending global poverty could be staggering. In the last five years, roughly 50 million people have been lifted out of poverty in India. But in the next generation, we estimate that with a concerted push an additional 300 million people in India could escape extreme poverty.”

 

2.       Boost shared prosperity, helping those who have escaped poverty sustain and increase their livelihoods.

a. Addressing climate change and inequality is essential.

         “Climate change is not just an environmental challenge. It is a fundamental threat to economic development and the fight against poverty.”
         “Assuring that growth is inclusive is both a moral imperative and a crucial condition for sustained economic development.”
 

“If we act today, if we work relentlessly toward these goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, we have the opportunity to create a world for our children which is defined not by stark inequities but by soaring opportunities. A sustainable world where all households have access to clean energy. A world where everyone has enough to eat. A world where no one dies from preventable diseases. A world free of poverty. It is the world we all want for ourselves, for our children, our grandchildren, and all future generations. As Dr. King said, ‘the time is always ripe to do right.’  The opportunity is squarely in front of us.  We can and we must seize the arc of history and bend it toward justice.” 

At Erase Poverty, we are committed to working alongside organizations like the World Bank in order to help more people lift themselves out of poverty and flourish. And in so doing, we will be bending the arc of history towards justice.
 
Speech Transcript - http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech/2013/04/02/world-bank-group-president-jim-yong-kims-speech-at-georgetown-university
Q&A Transcript - http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech/2013/04/02/world-bank-group-pres...