Washington, DC, April 16, 2011
Archived - Statement Prepared for the Development Committee of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund
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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance for Canada,
on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
On behalf of Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean countries that comprise our constituency, I would like to express our appreciation and support for the leadership of the World Bank Group, particularly as it has navigated the economic challenges we have faced over the past years. The World Bank continues to play an important role in helping to mitigate the effects of the recent financial and economic crisis for developing countries. New resources from an unprecedented capital increase and an historic International Development Association (IDA) replenishment will allow the Bank to continue to lead in global poverty reduction and economic development.
Each year, as a way of increasing accountability towards its own citizens, Canada establishes a set of priorities for the World Bank and publishes a report highlighting the Bank’s performance. I would like to highlight three priorities for Canada and our constituency: first, agri-finance, food security and agricultural productivity; second, the creative pursuit of results; and third, peace, security and development. These are areas in which the Bank is already hard at work, and in which continued progress would be welcomed.
Recent and ongoing events in the Middle East and North Africa highlight the need for accountable and transparent governance as well as sustained and inclusive economic growth. We are pleased to see the Bank’s leadership and engagement to ensure a coordinated response which will contribute to a brighter future for the people of the region.
Agri-Finance, Food Security and Agricultural Productivity
It is important the Bank show continued leadership in the fight against global hunger. In this context, we support the Bank’s new Africa Strategy and its active engagement in programs such as the Scaling Up Nutrition Initiative, which is of critical importance to our Irish colleagues, given their historical experience.
The Bank is devoting significant resources to increasing long-term food supplies in developing countries by helping to improve the productivity of farmers and increase their access to markets, while also supporting those most affected by the recent spike in food prices in the short term. As key participants of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, we welcome the operational launch of the private-sector component, which will expand access to credit for farmers and small businesses in the agricultural sector in low-income countries. These efforts should moderate global food price volatility over time and reduce the need for emergency assistance going forward.
In addition, we appreciate the engagement of the World Bank and other interested donors in drawing on the successes of the Advance Market Commitment for pneumococcal vaccines to create a new mechanism that would encourage private-sector-led innovation to benefit farmers in the developing world.
The Creative Pursuit of Results
The World Bank Group is demonstrating its commitment to using its resources to provide maximum development impact, manage and track results, and incorporate the results of evaluations and research into policy decisions. We are pleased to see the Bank sharpening its focus on results measurement as a major part of the agreed reforms and the IDA replenishment process that secured funding for the coming three years. We encourage the Bank to identify the most effective programs and to direct available resources towards areas of maximum effectiveness. The Bank’s leadership in this area can lead to benefits throughout the global development community.
The creative pursuit of results, including poverty eradication through the promotion of private-sector participation, inspired Canada to lead the development of the Group of Twenty (G-20) Small and Medium Enterprise Finance Challenge. This international competition is providing financing to scale up successful initiatives focused on boosting investment in small and medium-sized enterprises including Canada’s Peace Dividend Trust, which helps local entrepreneurs in post-conflict countries through guaranteed credit lines. We are pleased to see strong World Bank Group support, including through the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, for initiatives that help poor countries achieve sustainable economic growth through private-sector development. These initiatives are consistent with the Canadian International Development Agency’s new Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy. We look forward to engaging the World Bank Group further in the area of finance for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Finally, it is increasingly clear that neither public-sector nor private-sector approaches to development are sufficient on their own. We would like to encourage even greater cooperation and integration among the public- and private-sector arms of the Bank.
Peace, Security and Development
We welcome this week’s launch of the 2011 World Development Report, which focuses on conflict, security and development. We welcome the leading role that the Bank has taken in these fields.
We also look forward to the conclusion of the 2012 World Development Report dealing with gender equality.