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Can World Bank be People Centered 24Oct 1993

THE EARTH TIMES

OCTOBER 24, 1993

Bank/IMF will change to people emphasis

BY ASHALI VARMA

WASHINGTON— Lewis T. Preston, president of the World Bank, promised central bank

governors and finance ministers from around the globe who gathered here last month for the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, that his institution would move rapidly to promote economic development in the Occupied Territories of Gaza and the West Bank, South Africa, and Vietnam.

“We are well prepared to invest in peace,” he said.

In his opening address, Preston said that accelerated political,  economic and technological global change are great potentials for developing countries and for sustainable development, but success will depend on the Bank’s capacity to respond quickly to change. The challenge of adding 20 new member-states in the last two years, included major redeployment and resource mobilization without reducing services to developing countries whose reforms were aimed at creating more market-friendly systems.

Perhaps one of the most significant points made by Preston was on the importance of people centered development and in investing in people.  “Investment in people not only spurs growth but also reduces poverty,” he said.  To achieve this the Bank has made changes in its lending program and support for human resource development has tripled over the last three years, he said.  The Bank lends some $16 billion each year.

Michel Camdessus, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said: “For our economies to be responsive to change, rigidities in our economies must be removed.” He added, “Each of us must think globally while acting locally.”