Multilateral institution needs to evolve to tackle intertwined challenge of climate change and poverty, he says
Ajay Banga, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the World Bank, says he wants to give the multilateral development institution a new direction to tackle long-term money, long-term thinking aimed at fighting inequality.
â€œI’ve shown over the course of my career that I can manage complex global organizations for change, for a new direction, for a new time,â€ the Indian American business executive told NPRâ€™s Morning Edition.
Read: Ajay Banga poised to become World Bank president (March 30, 2023)
The World Bank needs to evolve for that change, and partnerships are a very important part that will be required for the World Bank, the former CEO of Mastercard said.
Banga, 63, said the World Bank, which oversees billions of dollars in funding for developing countries, will have to forge new partnerships to provide the resources necessary to tackle today’s challenges.
â€œPartnerships with MDBs [Multilateral Development Banks], partnerships with government, but most interestingly, partnerships with the private sector,â€ he said. â€œBecause the scale of these challenges requires trillions, not billions.â€
Banga is expected to be confirmed by the bank’s board next month as he is the only candidate for the top position.
On why he wants the job, Banga said the World Bank and institutions like it are among the few that can tackle long term money, long term thinking aimed at fighting inequality.
â€œWe’re also aimed at fighting the intertwined challenge of climate change,â€ he said. â€œI always thought this, but I never dreamt I would actually get a chance to do this job.â€
Read: Ajay Banga will be transformative at World Bank: Kamala HarrisÂ (February 24, 2023)
Banga said it will take the combined action of all stakeholders, from countries to the multilateral development banking system to the private sector to make a difference, particularly when it comes to climate change. “We don’t have the time to play in silos,” he said.
On the link between climate change and poverty, Banga said, â€œI honestly don’t think we can unwind the two challenges of development and climate and segregate them.â€
â€œYou know, if you’re a farmer in Kenya where they haven’t had rains for four years, it very quickly becomes from two crops to one crop in a year.
â€œThat leads to them then getting rid of their cattle that give them income from milk and dairy, that then leads to them laying off the laborer they hired and bringing that girl child out of school, or the boy children out of school to help them on the farm. That is a complete reversal of the development agenda, and it’s intertwined with climate,â€ he said.
On whether China is competing with the World Bank, Banga said, â€œI don’t think we should view ourselves as competitors with any of the multilateral banks or countries.â€
Read: Biden nominates Ajay Banga to lead World BankÂ (February 23, 2023)
â€œAll countries have bilateral aid systems in addition to helping with the multilateral development banking system.,â€ he said. â€œAnd I think we need all shoulders at the wheel, including the private sector, if we’re going to make a difference with a sense of urgency, particularly in climate, where 2030 is seven years away and 2050 with the Paris Accords is 27 years away.â€
â€œWe don’t have the time to play in silos. If young people have a good quality of life, health, education, clean air, clean water, the things you and I take for granted,â€ Banga said. â€œIf they get that and also get jobs when they’re eligible for jobs. Then young people, their optimism, their future transforms countries.â€