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Inclusive, sustainable development critical globally: World Bank chief
Date: 2011/4/11 Click: 2342
The unrest engulfing the Middle East and North Africa shows that more inclusive and sustainable development is crucial for countries around the world, and more progress should be made in creating more economic, education and civil opportunities for common people, World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick said here on Wednesday.

"There are lessons here for the region, for the world, for governments, for development institutions and for economics," Zoellick said at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The region has the highest unemployment among developing regions, the highest jobless rates among the best educated as well as the lowest economic participation rates by women, he said prior to the World Bank's Spring Meetings that are scheduled to kick off later this month.

"The International Labor Organization estimates that the unemployment rate for 15 to 24 year olds in the Middle East is 25 percent. Our survey of 1,500 youth found that the self-declared or perceived jobless rate was even higher, at 35 to 40 percent. Young women in Egypt and Jordan confront unemployment of 40 percent," he said during a policy address.

Zoellick cautioned that young people in this region had high expectations on their governments to create more job opportunities and improve their livelihood.

Policy reforms in this region must be "underpinned by a broad- based and inclusive consultative process, including with young stakeholders," he noted, adding that transparent and fast policy reform is as important as money.

He insisted that education in different countries should "match with jobs" and over time the best safety net is jobs.

Zoellick contended that the world should also endeavor to make development economics of practical help to policy makers and average people including fruit vendors, and not just abstractly theoretical.

The World Bank chief reiterated his stance of "modernizing multilateralism", adding that it means stressing "solving problems pragmatically, not just discussing the poor as objects of expert policies".

"The Bank is funding a poverty project in 70 poor Chinese villages that draws on elements of community-driven development to support collective decision making, management, and monitoring of local development," he added.

He argued that an empowered public is the foundation for a stronger society, more effective government and a more successful nation.
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