Speech by the Minister Schreinemacher at the meeting of the World Bank Group Development Committee

Speech by the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Liesje Schreinemacher, at the meeting of the World Bank Group Development Committee, Washington, 12 April 2023. 

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

Russia’s unprovoked and unlawful invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than a year. In the face of this aggression, the Ukrainian people remain steadfast. The Netherlands is on their side. We support Ukraine in any way we can. Financing assurances provided through the IMF are a big part of this.

I’m also pleased to announce that the Netherlands will make a new contribution of 60 million euros to the URTF (Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund). As well as making a further 40 million euros available to IFC’s Economic Resilience Action program.  

The world is evolving, and the World Bank Group must evolve with it. The brutal war on Ukraine only deepens the challenges we face, such as growing poverty, food insecurity, climate change, and the debt crisis. With 570 million extreme poor projected in 2030, it is clear that business as usual will not do. We cannot eradicate poverty without tackling climate change. And we cannot fight climate impacts without taking decisive action on water. It’s all connected.  That’s why today, we should embrace the call for greater ambition on global challenges.

Thinking small will not cut it. We should think big, and do the following three things: 

Firstly, we need to take an integrated approach. Tackling global challenges should be a core strategic priority for the World Bank. The Board has rightly taken the lead this, in close cooperation and consultation with management.

Secondly, an enhanced mandate will require more funds. The Netherlands welcomes the progress made on balance sheet optimization. But more is possible. An increase in the Bank’s lending volume should go hand in hand with more private capital mobilization. We need a Bank-wide effort on this, with IFC leading the way.

The Bank should also support borrowing countries who seek to raise domestic funds to provide for their people. This includes helping countries formalize the informal economy.

And thirdly, an enhanced mandate should lead to a better Bank:

  • A Bank that continues to cater to the needs of all borrowing members, both low- and middle-income countries;
  • A Bank that is more diverse in terms of its resources, and consequently more resilient;
  • And a Bank that is more inclusive and supports those that would otherwise left on the margins. Such as youth, women in Afghanistan or LGBTIQ+ persons in Uganda.

Let me conclude by thanking President Malpass for his dedicated service to this institution. He has been a strong advocate for developing countries. We have especially appreciated his efforts to improve debt transparency. Together with the Board, a new president will have to steer the Bank towards the successful completion of its Evolution.

Thank you.