2015 Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum
Fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honor to be here to address and deliberate on macro poverty reduction strategy and I would like to thank his excellency Mr. Liu Yongfu, Minister of China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, for inviting me here today to share my thoughts on this very important subject. I compliment the honorable minister for taking this initiative. I will start by congratulating the countries of the world on the progress that was made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and in setting the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda. This sets for us the inclusive agenda for the future.
As we start work on the Sustainable Development Goals, I would like to stress the importance of South-South Cooperation. This increased importance is symptomatic of the changing times we live in where there is a shift in geo-economic power to the global south. South-South Cooperation is poised to supplement North-South flows but not supplant it, not only financial flows but more importantly knowledge flows. It is a partnership among equals, and builds itself on a healthy exchange of best practices in cooperation amongst governments and the private sector.
One thing that makes SDGs more comprehensive and more explicit is a promise “to leave no one behind”. The MDGs included 8 development goals with 21 measurable targets, which helped focus the world’s attention to the most urgent problems. The SDGs – with twice as many goals as MDGs, reflecting a more comprehensive set of aspirations. We have to be careful that we avoid running the risk of diminished focus and these goals becoming jargon.
Therefore it is important that this next chapter of development unleashes economic growth – not just for the few at the top, but inclusive and sustainable growth that lifts the fortunes of many. That this is achievable has been comprehensively demonstrated by China. China has contributed the most to the success of the MDGs. Remarkable achievements over the past three decades underscore this – creating 600 million jobs, lifting a half a billion people out of poverty and growing by an average of 10% per year. We need to understand how China did this and look at its structured approach. Four key elements underpin this story:
- Firstly, investments in agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, water and flood management.
- Secondly, development of massive infrastructure.
- Thirdly, the development of manufacturing and industry.
- And fourthly, the development of the services sector.
And while all this was done the recognition that one needs to ensure that the environmental and social issues are kept in context. These to me underpin holistic and sustainable growth and development and provide a compendium of knowledge.
Our basic premise at the NDB would be to look back at the last 50 years and learn from what has succeeded and what has not, and also understand what has changed in these years. And from these learning’s chart an approach to inclusive development as a way to achieve the SDGS. Clearly we need to emphasize sustainable growth and development which becomes the foundation for the inclusive development agenda.
To the successful models I would suggest that in today’s context, to drive home the inclusive agenda, we could look at adding the following:
- Leveraging technology to boost productivity and transfer of this knowledge base to other developing countries.
- Working cooperatively on skill building.
- Working on a social inclusion model to cover amongst others, health, education, environment etc.
- Rapidly rolling out a financial inclusion model. This would need to provide access to banking, savings, borrowing, life and health insurance. Advancements in technology which allows you to have a bank in your pocket makes this possible.
- Seizing the opportunity to harness the unprecedented liquidity in the global markets.
- Increasing the flow of resources, by avoiding risk aversion, we could substantially increase the access to funds.
- And finally, concentrating on the speed of execution
At the NDB, we will listen, learn and collaborate. A significant aspect of this path would be to establish global/regional and local partnerships including with the established MDBs so as to leverage knowledge, capacity and financial resources. We are conscious that we may not be able to be present in all areas of the agenda, but will endeavour to be in those, which we believe we would be capable of adding value
In conclusion let me make a few points. We need to :
- Learn from the past
- Listen to our members
- Keep technological advancements in mind and leverage technology
- Share knowledge
- Be less risk averse and increase the flow of funding
- And finally, approach the issue of inclusion in a holistic context.