WASHINGTON — World Bank member countries have endorsed measures allowing a $50 billion lending boost over the next decade, its outgoing president David Malpass said.
The move, announced during the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank spring meetings in Washington, is part of an ongoing evolution of the development lender amid pushes for it to meet global challenges like climate change.
Earlier on Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged the World Bank to continue taking on added reform measures this year.
"We should use the rest of the year to undertake additional reforms through a staged implementation approach," Yellen said at a roundtable discussion on the evolution of multilateral development banks.
The United States is the largest shareholder of the World Bank Group.
'SIGNS OF PROGRESS'
Malpass, who announced his upcoming resignation in February, said in a statement late Wednesday that discussions with shareholders this week have "yielded signs of progress" on issues including a need for greater debt transparency, greater development finance and more impactful climate action.
"Our member countries endorsed measures that can add up to $50 billion of IBRD lending capacity over the next ten years," he added, referring to the bank's middle-income lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Malpass said there was full recognition of the importance of concessional resources and private sector investment.
With financing capabilities falling "far short of the resource needs for development and climate," Malpass stressed that addressing these needs will require a global effort.
For now, a development committee paper outlines changes "that provide a foundation for further evolution," said Malpass.
These include an affirmation that ending extreme poverty and promoting development remain at the core of the World Bank's work, but efforts towards these goals require "a stronger focus on sustainability, resilience, and inclusiveness."
The paper also contains proposals to support private sector development and private capital facilitation, among others.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who attended talks with Yellen and Malpass on Wednesday, said that there is a "historic opportunity" to bring the necessary financial resources to developing countries -- through the reform of development lenders.
He noted the need to narrow the growing gap between developed and developing countries, adding that "the situation now has become really critical."
And Yellen highlighted that there needs to be efforts for further progress.
Global leaders can tap upcoming events such as the Group of 20 Leaders' Summit in September to "keep the momentum strong," she said in a speech.
In an interview with AFP ahead of the spring meetings, Yellen added that Malpass, who will leave his position at the end of June, has laid a "solid foundation" for the ongoing reform effort.
She expects US candidate Ajay Banga to succeed Malpass and continue the revamp.
Other key issues on the spring meetings' agenda include debt restructuring, and leaders at a global sovereign debt roundtable committed Wednesday to further efforts to help speed up restructurings.
The debt roundtable is co-chaired by the IMF, World Bank and India, which currently holds the G20 presidency.