Saturday, May 19, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English
World Bank and IMF Meet in Washington
Representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank met in Washington in late April. This was the last time Robert Zoelick attended the spring meetings of the two organizations as World Bank president. Earlier, Jim Yong Kim was officially chosen as the bank's twelfth president.
Mr. Zoellick said developing countries are now engines of growth. "Developing countries have provided two thirds of global growth over the past five years," he said. But he added that many developing nations still face big problems. He said all members need to work together better "for their common interest."The United States traditionally chooses the World Bank head and Europe chooses the IMF chief. But developing nations want more influence.
The World Bank is a development agency. The IMF supports monetary cooperation and provides loans.IMF chief Christine Lagarde announced that the fund had received promises of over three hundred twenty billion dollars to help nations in trouble. She also said developing nations need to do more to support their emerging markets. They, too, have to address some of their issues, she said. They, too, have to be very attentive to a volatile market situation. "And that means, for some of these emerging markets, refocusing on their domestic growth."Ms. Lagarde said emerging markets need to work toward growth and building demand. But that requires resources. Two issues are access to banks and safety nets.
The World Bank says three-fourths of the poor have no access to banks. That means no savings in their communities to finance growth. The problem is greater for women. Poor women are twenty-eight percent less likely to have bank accounts than poor men.Social programs are also needed. Sixty percent of the developing world cannot depend on social programs to protect citizens from hunger or provide services in crises. Mr. Zoellick said, to help the poorest, every country needs basic safety nets to deal with crises. "Because the other lesson we learned," he said, "is if you wait until a crisis, it's too late." And rich nations have a lot to learn from developing ones.
Mr. Zoellick said programs in Brazil and Mexico are not costly, but help millions. Finally, the World Bank Group welcomed its newest member: South Sudan. The nation received its first grant of nine million dollars. The money is to help create jobs and provide financial services.
For VOA Special English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 20Apr2012)