By Jim Yong Kim
Before I begin, I want to pause to remember the 147 students at Garissa University College in Kenya who were senselessly murdered just a few days ago. Schools are sacred grounds, and all who study there should be safe. Let us reflect for a moment.
Just 15 years into the new millennium, economic development in poor countries and emerging markets is at a critical crossroads. Much of the attention has been on the near horizon – concerns about the slow-moving global economy, uncertainties over the price of oil, and conflicts from the Ukraine to the Middle East to parts of Africa. But when we look at the longer term picture, we see that the decisions made this year will have an enormous impact on the lives of billions of people across the world for generations to come.
2015 is the most important year for global development in recent memory. In July, world leaders will gather in Addis Ababa to discuss how we’ll finance our development priorities in the years ahead. In September, world leaders will come together at the United Nations to establish the Sustainable Development Goals – a group of targets and goals set for 2030. And in December, world leaders again will gather in Paris to work out an agreement based on government commitments to lessen the severe short- and long-term risks of climate change.
“We must promote freer trade that provides greater access to markets for the poor and enables entrepreneurs in low- and middle-income countries to grow their businesses and create new jobs. Fourth, we must invest in health and education, especially for women and children. And finally, we must implement social safety nets and provide social insurance, including initiatives that protect against the impact of natural disasters and pandemics,” says Yo kim