New World Bank chief to kick off global tour with Peru, Jamaica stops – Reuters

WASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) – The World Bank Group's new president, Ajay Banga, will visit Peru and Jamaica next week, kicking off a months-long global tour aimed at accelerating the global lender's evolution to tackle the climate crisis and reinvigorate its development mission, the World Bank said on Thursday.
Banga, a former Mastercard CEO who took over his new job on Friday, will visit countries in every region where the World Bank operates through December of 2023, the bank said in a statement. He will work to identify barriers for private-sector investment, find opportunities to maximize the bank's impact and deepen ties between the institution and the countries it serves, it added.
Banga also will work to "reimagine strategic partnerships" with other multilateral lenders and development organizations and will be joined on the Peru and Jamaica leg by Inter-American Development Bank President Ilan Golfajn.
"The two leaders will explore opportunities for greater collaboration and coordination to maximize our joint impact for people," the World Bank said.
Banga is facing pressure to stretch the World Bank's lending capacity and revamp its business model, with the United States and other big shareholders pushing it to expand its anti-poverty mission to fight climate change, pandemics, food insecurity, fragility and other global crises.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week urged Banga to "get the most" out of the World Bank's balance sheet and mobilize more private capital to finance the transition to clean energy for developing countries – an effort that will require trillions of dollars in new investment annually.
Later this month, Banga will participate in the "Summit for a New Global Financial Pact," a Paris conference focused heavily on the evolution of multilateral development lenders and improving development outcomes.
On his first day on the job, Banga asked the lender's 16,000 employees to "double down" on development and climate efforts, think more creatively and "write a new playbook" for the institution, which was founded in 1944.
Banga also said the bank needed to slash the approval time for financing projects, which currently can take up to three years. He said this situation costs countries valuable development years and contributes to a "trust deficit" in the institution.
"Aspirations of people around the world are universal – people are eager to work and want a better life for their children and grandchildren," Banga said in a statement announcing his tour.
"However, there is a diversity of challenges, and countries are experiencing them differently. The World Bank Group must reach out to all of them and we need a new playbook to do it. That is the road we are on."
Banga's travel plans over the next seven months will take him to small island states in the Pacific and countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean, the bank said.
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