A Conversation with David Malpass and Masood Ahmed

On May 26th 2022, World Bank Group’s President, David Malpass, and Masood Ahmed, President of the Center for Global Development, will hold a conversation about the array of global shocks, their impact on the most vulnerable communities—and the response they urgently demand.

From conflict to COVID to climate change, overlapping crises have created unprecedented challenges for developing countries. Debt vulnerabilities, rising inflation, higher energy prices and food insecurity are threatening to reverse development gains. These growing challenges require decisive policy action and sustained international cooperation on multiple fronts to ensure economic conditions improve in all countries, especially the poorest.  David Malpass and Masood Ahmed will exchange views on macroeconomic and political instability; and what is required for economic transformation.

The Way Forward is an occasional series of in-depth discussions on development challenges and innovative solutions, hosted by World Bank Group David Malpass.

May 26th, 10:00 AM EDT (local time)

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Staying the course for women’s economic empowerment in MENA

Our oceans are experiencing a range of problems caused by climate change and human20140128_indonesia_pamsimas_fishermen activity: rising temperatures, acidification, sea-level rise, habitat destruction, overfishing, marine pollution, and the introduction of invasive species.  These impacts are damaging ocean health and threatening the livelihoods of billions of people. They also point to a critical lack of governance globally of this precious resource.

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Staying the course for women’s economic empowerment in MENA

The war in Ukraine could not have come at a worse time, eroding global economicshutterstock_bbstudiophoto_-_women_engineer prospects as much of the world struggles to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the immediate impacts of the war has been the surge in commodity prices, raising concerns over food and energy security. Wheat prices have gone up by around 30%, hurting people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region who live in countries that rely on imports from Ukraine or Russia. 

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Helping Countries Cope with Multiple Crises

This year’s Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund tookwrapupstory place at a time of overlapping global crises.  The war in Ukraine has compounded concerns about inflation, COVID-19, climate change, and debt, with many other countries also facing fragility and conflict.

The chair’s statement issued on Friday by the Development Committee, a ministerial-level forum that represents 189 member countries of the two organizations, noted that the impacts will be felt most in low- and middle-income countries, especially by their most vulnerable people, including women and children.  The statement added that economic recovery is at risk amid geopolitical tensions, with investment, trade, and growth affected, even as countries face further risks from the pandemic and uneven deployment of vaccines.

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Europe and Central Asia Economic Update

eca-update-apr-2022-engThe Russian Federation’s war with Ukraine has triggered a catastrophic humanitarian crisis and threatened the stability of geopolitical relations. Economic output in the Europe and Central Asia region is forecast to contract by more than 4.1% in 2022—the second major shock and regional recession in two years. Moreover, the war has added to mounting concerns of a sharp global growth slowdown. The economic impact of the conflict has reverberated through multiple global channels, including commodity and financial markets, trade and migration links, and confidence. Neighboring countries in the Europe and Central Asia region are likely to suffer considerable economic damage because of their strong trade, financial, and migration links with Ukraine and Russia. Pandemic disruptions amid rising COVID-19 cases in some major economies have contributed to financial and commodity market volatility, and could ultimately weigh on global growth prospects. The war has also raised the likelihood of a destabilizing wave of refugees, widespread financial stresses among some emerging and developing economies, a de-anchoring of inflation expectations, and food insecurity. A protracted conflict is likely to heighten policy uncertainty and fragment global trade and investment networks. Policy makers need to ensure that they are better prepared to handle future crises as part of a commitment to a comprehensive approach to bolster resilient, inclusive, and green development. They should fortify their macroeconomic policy buffers and institutions to strengthen stability; promote an inclusive and more equal recovery by strengthening their social protection systems to protect the most vulnerable, including the refugees; and keep their focus on improving energy efficiency and green transition to secure a sustainable future.

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Four paths to respond to the food price crisis

As the devastating war in Ukraine rages on causing untold suffering, its impact is being feltroti_hero far beyond its borders, battering a world emerging from a pandemic that has hit developing countries hardest.  Among the most critical is the food price crisis, calling into question the affordability and availability of wheat and other essential staples.

There is no downplaying the blow that the war has dealt to food systems, already fragile from two years of COVID-19 disruptions, climate extremes, currency devaluations, and worsening fiscal constraints. Because Ukraine and Russia account for over a quarter of the world’s annual wheat sales, the war has led to a significant rise in the price of food , not only wheat but barley, maize, and edible oil among others exported by these two countries. Global and domestic food prices were already close to all-time highs before the war, and a large question mark looms over the next seasons’ harvests worldwide due to the sharp increase in fertilizer prices as well.

“Whether we succeed in managing food price volatility and navigating our way out of this new crisis depends on national policies and global cooperation.”

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The World Bank Group and Ukraine

The invasion in Ukraine will have far-reaching economic and social impacts – well beyond780-ukraine-030722 the immediate impact it is already having on the lives and livelihoods of those in the country. The World Bank Group continues to coordinate with Ukraine and other development partners to assess these costs and develop a robust response to help the Ukrainian people during this difficult period.

The World Bank’s overall portfolio of projects in Ukraine supports improvements in basic public services, in areas such as water supply, sanitation, heating, power, energy efficiency, roads, social protection, education and healthcare, and private sector development. Since Ukraine joined the World Bank in 1992, the Bank’s commitments to the country have totaled more than $14 billion in about 90 projects and programs.


“We are a long-standing partner of Ukraine and stand with its people at this critical moment.”
David Malpass
President, World Bank Group
 

World Bank Announces Additional $200 Million in Financing for Ukraine

Financing will support essential social services; combined total of World Bank-mobilized support for Ukraine now stands at more than $925 million

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2022— The World Bank today announced nearly $200 million in additional and reprogrammed financing to bolster Ukraine’s social services for vulnerable people. This comes on top of the $723 million mobilized for Ukraine and its people last week, of which $350 million has already been disbursed to Ukraine. This financing is part of the $3 billion package of support that the World Bank Group previously announced it is preparing for Ukraine over the coming months.

The combined total of support mobilized by the World Bank for Ukraine now stands at more than $925 million. As part of the mobilization efforts, Austria has contributed €10 million ($11 million equivalent) to the multi-donor trust fund (MDTF) set up by the World Bank to facilitate channeling grant resources from donors to Ukraine. This raises the current MDTF total to $145 million.

“The ongoing war continues to have severe human costs and has created financing gaps that jeopardize the ability of vulnerable people in Ukraine to meet basic needs,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass“This rapid support will help to bridge those gaps during a time of extreme disruption as we work on broader support efforts for Ukraine and the region.”

While the full impact remains uncertain, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing a growing number of civilian casualties, destroying livelihoods, and damaging critical civilian infrastructure, including homes, water and sanitation, schools, health facilities and highways.

The World Bank in Ukraine

World Bank Mobilizes an Emergency Financing Package of over $700 million for Ukraine

 

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2022—The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a supplemental budget support package for Ukraine, called Financing of Recovery from Economic Emergency in Ukraine – or FREE Ukraine – for $489 million. The package approved by the Board consists of a supplemental loan for $350 million and guarantees in the amount of $139 million and is also mobilizing grant financing of $134 million and parallel financing of $100 million, resulting in total mobilized support of $723 million. The fast-disbursing support will help the government provide critical services to Ukrainian people, including wages for hospital workers, pensions for the elderly, and social programs for the vulnerable.

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World Bank Group Stands with Ukraine and its People

Prepares to support countries in the region affected by the conflict World Bank building

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2022—David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, today released the following statement: 

“The World Bank Group is horrified by the shocking violence and loss of life as a result of the events unfolding in Ukraine. We are a long-standing partner of Ukraine and stand with its people at this critical moment.

Today, I discussed the situation with our Board of Directors and have mobilized our Global Crisis Risk Platform to accelerate coordination across the World Bank Group.

The devastating developments in Ukraine will have far-reaching economic and social impacts. We are coordinating closely with the IMF to assess these costs.

When I met with President Zelenskyy in Munich on Saturday, I reaffirmed the World Bank Group’s strong support and commitment to the people of Ukraine and the region.

We stand ready to provide immediate support to Ukraine and are preparing options for such support, including fast-disbursing financing. Alongside development partners, the World Bank Group will use all our financing and technical support tools for rapid response.

The World Bank Group is also in active dialogue to support neighboring countries and people that may be affected by this conflict and will make additional resources available.”

Prepares to support countries in the region affected by the conflict 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2022—David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, today released the following statement: 

“The World Bank Group is horrified by the shocking violence and loss of life as a result of the events unfolding in Ukraine. We are a long-standing partner of Ukraine and stand with its people at this critical moment.

Today, I discussed the situation with our Board of Directors and have mobilized our Global Crisis Risk Platform to accelerate coordination across the World Bank Group.

The devastating developments in Ukraine will have far-reaching economic and social impacts. We are coordinating closely with the IMF to assess these costs.

When I met with President Zelenskyy in Munich on Saturday, I reaffirmed the World Bank Group’s strong support and commitment to the people of Ukraine and the region.

We stand ready to provide immediate support to Ukraine and are preparing options for such support, including fast-disbursing financing. Alongside development partners, the World Bank Group will use all our financing and technical support tools for rapid response.

The World Bank Group is also in active dialogue to support neighboring countries and people that may be affected by this conflict and will make additional resources available.”