World Bank chief optimistic over major capital increase

World Bank chief optimistic over major capital increase

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
World Bank chief optimistic over major capital increase

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said on Oct. 12 that he was optimistic that the leading development financier will be able to increase its capital base to expand lending.

Opening the annual meetings of the Bank together with the International Monetary Fund, Kim acknowledged some resistance to expanding the bank’s financial foundations from countries including reportedly the United States, the World Bank’s largest shareholder.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been a critic of the Bank and other multilateral institutions as he presses forward on his “America First” agenda.    

But Kim said many shareholders are pressing the Bank to expand its activities worldwide, which range from grants to the poorest countries to development loans for projects in others, and financing for businesses in capital-short markets.    
World Bank lending fell to $58.8 billion in fiscal 2017, which ended on June 30, from $61.3 billion the previous year.    

“We have been arguing that we need a capital increase just because of the demand,” Kim said.    

The issue will be discussed by the Bank’s steering committee and Kim said he expected a final decision will be made within six months.    

“The U.S. is now a part of the discussions,” he said.    

“I remain extremely optimistic. I think that once shareholders see how much they are asking us to do and then look at the capital we have to actually get that done, I think eventually will get to a capital increase.”