PIH co-founder and nominee for World Bank President discusses his vision for the World Bank in an op-ed published by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Financial Times.
By Jim Yong Kim
We live in a time of historic opportunity. Today more people live in fast-growing economies than at any time in history, and development can take root anywhere – regardless of whether a country is landlocked, just emerging from conflict or oppression, large or small. If we build on this, we can imagine a world in which billions of people in developing countries enjoy increases in their incomes and living standards. Given our collective experiences, successes and resources, it’s clear that we can eradicate global poverty and achieve in our lifetimes what for generations has been a distant dream.
My own life and work have led me to believe that inclusive development – investing in human beings – is an economic and moral imperative. I was born in South Korea when it was still recovering from war, with unpaved roads and low levels of literacy. I have seen how integration with the global economy can transform a poor country into one of the most dynamic and prosperous economies in the world. I have seen how investment in infrastructure, schools and health clinics can change lives. And I recognise that economic growth is vital to generate resources for investment in health, education and public goods.
Every country must follow its own path to growth, but our collective mission must be to ensure that a new generation of low and middle-income countries enjoys sustainable economic growth that generates opportunities for all citizens.
As co-founder of Partners in Health and director of the World Health Organisation’s initiative to treat HIV/Aids, I will bring practical experience to the World Bank. I have confronted the forces that keep more than 1 billion people trapped in poverty. I have worked in villages where fewer than 1 in 10 adults could read or write, where preventable diseases cut lives short and where lack of infrastructure and capital held back entrepreneurs. In all those villages, the local people knew where improvement was needed.
But for change to happen, we need partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society to build systems that can deliver sustainable, scalable solutions. And as we work for global prosperity, we must draw on ideas and experience from around the globe.
Dr. Jim Yong Kim is a co-founder of Partners In Health, President of Dartmouth College, and the U.S. nominee for the presidency of the World Bank.