The World Bank unveiled its plan to end extreme poverty by 2030 recently.
The rapid progress of India, China and Brazil blazed the path towards exceeding the global Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015. Now the Bank wants to rid the world of extreme poverty forever.
Ending extreme poverty will require the acceleration of economic growth in developing countries and translating that growth into jobs while eliminating inequality, said World Bank President Jim Kim in a blogger call yesterday morning. Work must be done to mitigate the shocks caused by natural disasters and eliminate the insecurity linked to food, fuel and poverty, he added.
Linking all of these problems, for Kim, is climate change.
“Climate change is not just an environmental challenge. It’s a fundamental threat to economic development and the fight against poverty,” he said. Continue reading →
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The International AIDS Conference, a mega-meeting of more than 20,000 people, has opened here to fanfare, protests, calls to action and (overly?) ambitious proclamations aimed at fighting complacency.
The world’s biggest AIDS conference has returned to the U.S. – to a city with HIV infection rates comparable to some African nations – after 22 years of ‘separation’ due to our government’s ban against HIV-infected visitors. The Obama Administration repealed the travel ban in 2010.
It appears to be a critical moment for the global response to AIDS. The theme of AIDS 2012 is “Turning the Tide Together.”
This positive message has been accompanied by many speakers and organizations here claiming, sometimes in verbatim echo, that we are on the crest of finding a “cure” for AIDS, of creating an “AIDS-free generation” or “the end of AIDS.
“We can, with the technology we have today, end the epidemic,” said Mark Dybul, former director of the President George W. Bush’s ground-breaking and successful initiative to get AIDS drugs to Africa known as PEPFAR.
”We look toward the end of AIDS as something realistic,” said Jim Kim, an activist physician who President Obama recently tapped to take over at the World Bank.
“We have everything we need to beat this epidemic,” said Michel Sidibe, director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
Most folks here are talking like that and it sounds great, very hopeful. But if you dig a bit deeper, it’s not clear if there’s evidence to support all these claims. Bill Gates, at a plenary talk today, joined the minority of skeptics questioning these rallying cries.
“We don’t have the tools to end the epidemic,” said Gates, citing the lack of an effective AIDS vaccine as the most critical weapon needed to defeat the pandemic. “Only when we have these new tools can we seriously talk about moving toward the end.” Continue reading →
U.S. physician and anti-poverty activist Dr. Jim Kim has been confirmed as the new president of the World Bank.
The news – while controversial internationally – was well received in the global health and development field in Seattle.
“In an era when hiring a politician or a banker in the U.S. might not be a very good choice, hiring Jim Kim was brilliant,” said Dr. King Holmes, chair of the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health and director of the UW’s Center for AIDS and STDs.
“He’s very competent and has demonstrated that in a variety of areas,” Holmes said.
The selection of Kim, also as expected, has prompted a lot of resentment — in part because it furthers the American monopolization of the position and also because some saw Kim as ‘anti-growth‘ or, more legitimately perhaps, as having the wrong kind of expertise needed.
Nominee for president of the World Bank, Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, stands while being announced by U.S. President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden on March 23 in Washington, DC. Kim, who is seen as a surprise pick, is a Korean born physician that is prominent in global health circles.
Lant Pritchett is Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Outsiders must be a little mystified as to why the Obama administration’s nomination of Jim Young Kim to lead the World Bank has kicked up so much dust in the development community. I suspect the casual observer thinks: “Such a nice man, a doctor devoted to HIV/AIDS and to the poorest in the poorest places. Why the fuss?”
But picking a new World Bank head is a little like picking a new Pope. The process isn’t just about the individual candidates for the position, but about the overall direction of the faith. And so, the controversy over Kim’s nomination is not really about Kim himself. It’s a debate about a philosophical schism in the development community.
The original idea of development really gained strength with the de-colonialization that followed World War II in Asia and later in Africa. Just as objects in nature go through a process of development to achieve their full potential — acorns become oaks, tadpoles become frogs, human embryos become people — the idea was that newly sovereign states would experience a historical process whereby India would become Britain, Korea would become Japan, and Cote d’Ivoire would become France.
President Barack Obama’s nomination of renowned physician activist Dr. Jim Kim to become head of the World Bank is controversial – apparently because he’s both a physician and an outspoken advocate for a particular approach to fighting poverty.
This has led all sorts of development experts — most of them economists — to give at best faint praise to Kim as a “good person” but then go on to damn him for not having the right kind of knowledge and/or expertise to run this institution devoted to promoting overseas development.
Many of my favorite development (economics) experts like Bill Easterly and Chris Blattman point to a book co-authored by Kim called Dying for Growth, in which he and his colleagues “present evidence that the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men.”
Blattman cites another opponent of Kim’s nomination, Lant Pritchett, who says:
Kim’s views against economic growth and private investment (detailed in his book, Dying for Growth) are already raising eyebrows in the press and causing concern among world leaders.
Oh dear me! The proposed head of the World Bank is “against growth!” Really? Continue reading →
When President Barack Obama last week announced that he was nominating Dr. Jim Kim, an outspoken poverty advocate and physician, to take the helm of the World Bank, it was a surprise to almost everyone.
Kim is currently president at Dartmouth College but is best known as the physician co-founder, with Paul Farmer, of the renowned anti-poverty and health improvement organization Partners in Health. He was a surprise nomination because he isn’t a banker, a financial expert or a politician at sunset looking for new pastures to practice the art of compromise.
And like Paul Farmer, he is passionate, fearless and fairly uncompromising in the fight to defeat global poverty, and the diseases of poverty. This is why so many in the global health and development community are excited about his nomination to head up the World Bank — and also why Kim may become the first U.S. nominee to face a serious challenge for the post.
I happen to know of at least one job search Kim reportedly got dropped from due to his tendency to say what he thinks. Continue reading →