World Bank President Kim Yong-jim said Thursday, the changes that have happened in the Arab Spring countries teach the World Bank critical lessons about development.
There are important lessons for the World Bank to learn from the Arab Spring countries and "our engagement there is critical," Kim told an opening press conference ahead of the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Tokyo.
There is a fundamental rethinking that is happening among many of the Arab Spring countries, such as the educational systems that help young people get good jobs, the health care systems and the participation of women, Kim pointed out.
"I think fundamental values like making sure that the inputs to spur further economic growth are in place, to ensure that economic growth is inclusive of young people, especially young women, that women in general are at the center of the development process--these are all critical issues," he stressed.
"In countries like Yemen, there are so many things that we have to do to provide basic inputs, infrastructure development," he said. "There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the Arab Spring countries, but we are very much engaged with almost all of them, but not yet in Syria." He also voiced concern over uncertainty in the global economy, noting that the economic announcements emanating in recent weeks have been sobering.
"We are in challenging times. Food prices remain high and volatile. Growth in high-income countries is weak. Developing countries, which have been the engine of growth, will not be immune to the increased uncertainty in the global economy," he pointed out.
Asked about his view on food prices, Kim said the response to the increases in food prices has to be multifaceted.
"What we are doing immediately is making resources available to countries to support them to provide an emergency capability of helping to purchase food. While we will always stand ready to help with short-term needs for food security, we are also very engaged in trying to help each of our member countries build in long-term sustainability in their agriculture systems."