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Indonesia’s Indrawati, former World Bank COO, joins chorus calling for reforms at World Bank -Breaking


© Reuters. Sri Mulyani indrawati, Indonesian Finance Minister, responds to questions, during an interview with the World Bank at Washington, U.S.A. on April 22, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein


Andrea Shalal, David Lawder

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – Sri Mulyani indrawati, Indonesia’s Finance Minister joined a growing number of people calling for reforms to better equip the World Bank to tackle global issues such as climate change or the changing nature its clients.

Indrawati was a former managing director, chief operating officer, and chief executive of the multilateral bank for development. He told Reuters, “We can’t be using the same businesses-as-usual.” It is necessary to make changes, if you are asking whether they need them.

Indrawati made these comments one day after Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Secretary, and a high-ranking White House advisor called for significant reforms to the World Bank. Major public and private organizations also supported urgent reforms.

White House adviser and Yellen argued against the idea that the institution, which has been around for seven decades, was not built to handle multiple crises worldwide, such as Russia’s war with Ukraine and COVID-19.

Indrawati, Friday’s observer, noted that the World Bank has much greater challenges and is now facing more international issues than what it was established to solve. Indrawati also pointed out that their client base has expanded to include higher-income countries.

Students, academics and civil society groups from developing countries are calling for an overhaul to the institutions of the “Bretton Woods”, a reference the 1942 conference in this New Hampshire city that resulted in the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

On Thursday, both public and private organisations called for reforms.

Indrawati explained that the World Bank’s past strength was reliant on the operations of individual countries. However, global problems are not solved by talking with clients who have jurisdiction over their own sovereignty.

Indrawati was this year’s Chair of the Group of 20 Finance Officials. She stated that the changes needed were to ensure that the World Bank had the resources and capacity to handle myriad global crises and be able to react more rapidly to new crises.

Although the World Bank’s total lending was $99 billion for fiscal 2021, experts believe that trillions are required to assist countries with climate change, poverty reduction, and preparing for possible pandemics.

Indrawati stated that to finance the necessary work, it was vital to use public resources to attract more private capital. He cited Indonesia’s “blended financing” which brings together funds from government institutions, bilateral lenders, and private sectors.