The World Bank Group yesterday rated Nigerians among the “extremely poor” people of the world.
The bank, also known as International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), listed other extremely poor people to abound in countries like DR Congo, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, China, Indonesia, Pakistan and Kenya.
The financial institution however promised to assist Nigerians and their counterparts in this category to get out of their current conditions in the coming years.
World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim made the disclosure at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington ahead of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings.
He said: “The fact is that two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries: India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you add another five countries, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya, the total grows to 80 per cent of the extreme poor.”
Dr. Kim stressed that the World Bank Group would focus on Nigeria and the other nine countries, but noted that the plan would not make other countries in the world to be ignored.
“We will have a strategy that ensures that no country is left behind, as we move toward the target of ending extreme poverty by 2030″, he said.
Meanwhile, the bank has announced that it was nearly doubling its potential lending to so-called middle-income countries like China, India and Brazil, adding about $100 billion in new financing capacity over the next decade.
“If we are going to help developing countries end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity, we have to provide them with more financial resources, more solutions-based knowledge, and help leverage more private sector investment,” Dr. Jim Yong Kim said.
The bank is going through its biggest restructuring in two decades, an effort meant to help it achieve its goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, he stressed.
Part of the restructuring involves creating 14 “global practice” groups of experts on topics including energy, agriculture and finance.
The groups are intended to break down the bank’s internal barriers so that, for example, an expert on malaria eradication in sub-Saharan Africa can better share expertise with colleagues working in Asia.
The bank expects to name the group leaders in a matter of days, Dr. Kim said. He also said that the bank was working on eliminating about $400 million in unnecessary spending.
“Looking for savings was part of a very fundamental integrity exercise that I think all large institutions should go through. We have identified all the areas where we know that we can make reductions without hurting the quality of our business,” he said.