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World Bank wants to end poverty by 2030. Possible?

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim speaks on April 15, 2013 at the International Finance Corporation in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim is a doctor by training, but has been the president of the World Bank for about about a year and a half. Earlier this week, he gave a speech setting up his goals for the bank for the coming year.

In it, Kim explains why poverty was "the defining moral issue of our time," and could be eradicated by 2030. 

On his plans to eradicate poverty:

"It's easy to say, and we've been talking about ending poverty for a long time. But this is the first time we can actually see the end. This is the generation that can end poverty. If the poor countries perform as they have over the last 20 years, they're gonna get to about 6 or 7 percent poverty. We have a job to do. What we need to do, is to figure out what they were doing when these economies were growing at their best. And then try to .. re-create some of that magic. It's easy to say, it's morally extremely compelling, but it's going to be hard to do. And we have a lot of work ahead of us. 

On focusing on conflict zones:

“We really believe that if you can bring the peacemaking process together with development, you have a much greater chance of having a sustained peace. I think we’ve always known that that’s the case, but the way we’ve been working, we sort of wait until the peacekeeping process sticks. We’re not doing that anymore…we’re going to put on the table real development solutions that will make the peace last.”

On the World Bank's willingness to fail:

“Not only am I comfortable with failure, I come from a profession where we have a very systematic way of dealing with failure. We took some of our most spectacular failures, put them in front of the whole team, and said, ‘look, this is a great lesson.’ I’m really trying to shift the mentality from a risk-averse culture to one that says, ‘let’s take smart risks,’ and the only thing that can go wrong is if something fails and we don’t learn from it.”

Follow the Wealth and Poverty Desk on Twitter @MPWealthPoverty.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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