Millions more face poverty in crisis: World Bank


World Bank president Robert Zoellick says tens of millions more people in Africa and elsewhere will be driven into poverty this year even though the world is recovering from the global financial crisis.

“I hope we are now on a path to global recovery,” he told African leaders at the annual summit of the African Union (AU). “But we still face considerable risks in 2010 and we have to repair the damage done by the crisis. It has a human face,” he said.
“We estimate that 64 million people worldwide will fall into extreme poverty because of the crisis and an additional 30 000 to 50 000 babies may die in sub-Saharan Africa,” he added. Zoellick said the bank would use its direct subsidy schemes to mitigate poverty for the those who are most vulnerable.

He also restated the bank’s promise to raise its financial commitments to the world’s poorest continent by a minimum of $15 billion over the next two to three years. World Bank projects in Africa range from fertiliser procurement in Ethiopia to job programmes in Sierra Leone. The Washington-based institution invested $3.6 billion in the infrastructure of sub-Saharan Africa last year.

Malawian President Mbingu wa Mutharika, president elect of the AU, earlier pledged to push for a continental food security agenda during his year-long leadership of the 53-nation bloc.

Pic: Ethiopian refugees