The new World Bank President, David Malpass, delivered a dark and scary projection about Africa on Thursday, saying that by the year 2030, nearly 9 in 10 extremely poor people in the world will be Africans.
In addition, half of the world’s poor will be living in fragile and conflict-affected settings, Malpass said at his first world press conference in Washington D.C.
“This fact is extremely troubling, because it jeopardizes the World Bank’s primary goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030,” he added.
Mr Malpass, who was appointed by President Donald Trump last week and elected by the World Bank board members days ago, was speaking at the 2019 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Meetings in Washington D.C.
He said per capita income growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, as a whole, is now projected to stay below 1 percent until at least 2021, elevating the risk of a further concentration of extreme poverty on the continent.
“Growth in median income will also be weak,” he said.
“Globally, extreme poverty has dropped to 700 million at the last count, that’s down from much higher levels in the 1990s and 2000s. But the number of people living in extreme poverty is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Mr Malpass said, adding that he would like to make life better for struggling countries during his tenure.
With that scary projection, Mr Malpass urged African countries and the international community to take urgent actions.
“The Bank’s role is particularly important in poorer countries, where the global economic slowdown that began last year hits people the hardest.
“Global growth lost momentum throughout 2018, falling 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 3.3 percent in the Q1, based on World Bank calculations,” he said.
He said the deceleration was seen in both advanced and developing economies, “and it coincided with three other warning signs: waning structural reforms in major economies; financial stress in some large emerging markets; and elevated policy uncertainty globally”.
The good news, Malpass said, is that the World Bank Group is financially strong. “And with the capital package – which was agreed to a year ago at the Spring Meetings, and which I was proud to support – the organization is becoming even more responsive, efficient, and effective”.