World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim Discusses Opportunities, Challenges in Developing Nations During Visit to American University Washington College of Law
More than 300 members of the AU community and students from local high schools participate in event
April 11, 2018
American University Washington College of Law welcomed World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to campus Tuesday, April 10 for "Rich and Poor: Opportunities and Challenges in an Age of Disruptions."
The discussion, held a week before the start of the World Bank - International Monetary Fund (IMF) spring meetings, focused on the World Bank’s efforts of tackling ongoing global challenges, and the role technology plays in the development of rich and poor countries. The event included a Q&A session with attendees, moderated by 1A host Joshua Johnson.
The discussion was streamed live on the World Bank Live website, and garnered over 400 views.
Following his introduction by International Legal Studies Program Director Padideh Ala'i, Kim described the World Bank’s conception, and how it has evolved over the last 74 years to reflect ongoing human advancements and help developing countries achieve a greater quality of life.
“By 2025, many analysts say the entire world will have access to broadband. And when you can see things on the internet, a couple of things happen,” Kim said. “They can see how the world works. They can watch movies, television shows – the satisfaction of life goes up. But their reference income, the income to which they compare their own, also goes up.”
“How do we respond to the phenomena,” Kim continued, “in which everyone knows how everyone else lives, and their aspirations are going up and they want more from themselves, while at the same time technology could potentially eliminate many, many jobs.”
“We know that no matter what happens, when you invest in the health and education of your children, you’re going to have a brighter future.”World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim
The World Bank’s current goal is twofold, Kim said: to end extreme poverty – those living under a $1.90 a day – by 2030, and to boost shared prosperity to reduce inequality.
AUWCL LL.M. student Maria Fernanda Miranda Munoz said as a native of Columbia she attended the discussion to meet Kim and learn more about the World Bank’s efforts to eradicate poverty.
“Because I come from a developing country, I thought that it would be great to hear him talk about how to improve these countries,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to see with our own eyes, and hear from him that we really can change the reality that we’re living in right now – to see there is hope for the world.”
Kim said instead of focusing on solely economic growth, the World Bank is now focusing on sustainable and inclusive growth that will benefit the entire country. The group is also working on resilience against growing issues such as pandemics and climate change, while investing more effectively in people.
“Even in low-income countries, human capital is a significant proportion of overall wealth of a nation,” he said.
Members of the AU and AUWCL community, as well as local high school students, posed a variety of questions to Kim during the Q&A session, hitting on topics such as xenophobia and where countries should place their future investments.
“There are some things you can invest in that we know will be useful,” Kim said. “We know that no matter what happens, when you invest in the health and education of your children, you’re going to have a brighter future.”