Indonesian Indrawati, former chief operating officer of the World Bank, joins the chorus calling for reforms at the World Bank

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) – Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati on Friday joined a growing chorus of officials calling for reforms to better equip the World Bank to deal with growing global challenges such as the climate change and the changing nature of its customers.

“We cannot use the same business-as-usual,” Indrawati, a former managing director and chief operating officer of the multilateral development bank, told Reuters in an interview. “If you ask whether to change, yes.”

Indrawati’s comments came a day after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and a top White House adviser called for major reforms at the World Bank, and major public and private groups also said reforms urgent were needed.

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Yellen and the White House adviser argued that the seven-decade-old institution was not designed to deal with multiple and overlapping global crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the war of Russia in Ukraine and climate change. Read more

Indrawati noted on Friday that the World Bank faces much larger and more global challenges than those for which it was created, and that its client base has changed to include more middle-income countries.

Civil society groups, developing countries and academics are also calling for an overhaul of the ‘Bretton Woods’ institutions, a reference to the conference held in this New Hampshire town in 1941 that led to the creation of the International Monetary Fund. and the World Bank.

Public and private groups calling for reforms on Thursday also said the injection of much more private capital was needed to tackle the multiple, overlapping crises currently pushing 250 million people into extreme poverty. Read more

“In the past, the World Bank’s strength was really tied to country operations, but when you’re talking about global public issues, you can’t just talk with a client based on jurisdiction or sovereignty,” Indrawati said. .

Indrawati, this year’s chair of the Group of 20 finance chiefs, said changes were needed to ensure the World Bank has the scale and resources to deal with a myriad of global crises and to respond more quickly. when crises erupt.

World Bank lending totaled $99 billion in fiscal year 2021, but experts estimate trillions of dollars are needed to help countries adapt to changing weather conditions, tackle growing poverty and prepare for future pandemics.

To help fund the necessary work, mobilizing public resources and attracting more private capital would be vital, Indrawati said, citing Indonesia’s use of “blended finance” to pool government money, multilateral institutions, bilateral lenders and the private sector.

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Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder; Editing by Leslie Adler

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