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World Bank’s focus will include food insecurity and gender equality, says President Ajay Banga

The World Bank needs to broaden the horizon to food insecurity and gender equality, says World Bank President Ajay Banga in an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18 on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi on Saturday.

The Indian-born American business executive said the vision of the global bank to eradicate poverty and share prosperity was very effective for many years due to worldwide support. This resulted in pushing millions of people out of poverty.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have changed this. “We’ve got pandemics, we’ve got climate change, we’ve got fragility in a war,” he said.He further said the emergence of food insecurity and biodiversity loss as global challenges have ensured the World Bank cannot stay focused on only poverty without expanding its approach to these poly crises which impact each other.

Expanding his point on focus on gender equality, he said that despite forming 50 percent of the world’s population, women are inadequately represented in management, the labour force or an opportunity at all levels of society across the world.

New Delhi Declaration

“My first take is that it is a job well done by India to get a declaration,” Banga said when asked for his reaction to the New Delhi Declaration. In a massive breakthrough under the Indian presidency, the New Delhi Leaders’ Summit Declaration was adopted on Saturday with “100 percent consensus” despite deep geopolitical divisions among group members on the Ukraine war.

The former Mastercard CEO also expressed satisfaction with paragraphs 48 to 53, which deal with reforming multilateral banks and importantly, future-proofing multilateral institutions for future challenges and future needs.

“I think there’s multiple levels in this when the G20 laid out the desire for an evolution of the Bretton Woods Institutions, the logic Shereen gave was that what we’ve done for the past 70 years was great, but it’s not future fit for what we need to go to.”

First Published: Sept 9, 2023 7:39 PM IST

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