Financial tools used by the wealthy need to be applied for the poor, says World Bank President
The President of the
World Bank
Jim Yong Kim
delivered an inaugural lecture at the
Joep Lange Institute
in The Hague on 5th July 2016, in which he said innovative financial instruments were vital to deliver healthcare to the world’s poor. Speaking before an audience of students, financiers and charity organisers, Kim said the bank would do “whatever [it] can” to raise capital in health markets, emphasising the role of financial instruments used by the world’s wealthiest individuals. “There are so many ways that rich people have to make themselves richer, and these things are completely legal, and what we at the World Bank can learn more than anything else is how to use those instruments on behalf of the poor,” he said. According to Kim,
one hundred million people
remain in poverty each year due to poor healthcare access which he called “catastrophic”. He said the World Bank Group would use every financial instrument available, from swaps and loans to blended finance and guarantees, “so that private sector investors can get involved and help to achieve development targets”. The lecture is the first of its kind since the institute was founded in memory of former President of the International AIDS Society
Joseph Marie Albert Lange
, who died on board the
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
in July 2014. Kim’s speech also drew on the World Bank’s launch in May 2016 of a
Pandemic Emergency Facility
(PEF), which comprises an innovative insurance instrument structured like a bond to release funding within a critical timeframe to countries suffering infectious disease outbreaks. G7 leader Japan has already committed US$50 million to the facility, which was co-designed with the
World Health Organisation
(WHO) to combat a global failure to respond quickly to pandemics such as Ebola. “People can actually invest in pandemic response [with the PEF],” commented Kim. “This instrument is the first instrument in history that will release money automatically once certain pandemic triggers are activated.” Commenting on Lange’s legacy in the field of HIV research and activism, Kim praised Lange’s investigations into the cause and spread of the virus, as well as his support for the use of combined forms of therapy to combat AIDS. He said: “[HIV] was frightening. We would put on hazmats, basically full coverage, almost like astronaut suits to walk in there. For someone like Joep to have taken [HIV] on at such an early point in his career, he really was making common cause with some of the world’s most ostracised and marginalised people.”
By Jack Aldane
Photo: Joep Lange Institute