Talks in Washington and New York Development Minister Schulze working to advance World Bank reform and Sahel cooperation

Press release 15 May 2023 | Today, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze will be travelling to Washington in order to help increase the momentum of the ongoing reform of the World Bank, which is geared towards turning it into a climate and transformation bank. In October 2022, she had joined forces with the United States and other stakeholders to initiate the reform. During her four-day visit, she will also be lobbying for international support for the Sahel region and for more efforts for far-sighted action against crises and poverty, so as to make progress on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To that end, she will have meetings in Washington and New York with World Bank and United Nations leaders and with representatives of developing and emerging economies and civil society.

Logo: World Bank Group

Schulze said, “The World Bank needs to undergo a fundamental reform in order to be fit for the major challenges of our times. I will use my talks with World Bank representatives to advance the initiative for a far-reaching reform that turns the Bank into a climate and transformation bank. The Bank's core mission of reducing poverty will remain at the centre. However, in these times, it is only possible to reduce poverty successfully if global crises such as climate change, environmental degradation and pandemics are addressed at the same time. So the World Bank needs to provide effective incentives to ensure that more of its investments will not just benefit individual countries but simultaneously the international community as a whole.”

The "World Bank Group" inscription on the main building of the World Bank in Washington

In October 2022, Development Minister Svenja Schulze had joined forces with the United States and other shareholders to initiate a fundamental reform of the World Bank so it would provide better support to developing countries for their efforts to tackle global challenges such as environmental degradation and pandemics, and make available more funding for climate action. The reform will also involve using existing resources more efficiently and mobilising more private investment. It is planned to have major steps of the reform ready for decision by the Annual Meetings in October 2023. To that end, Schulze will now have talks with the World Bank's management, incoming World Bank President Ajay Banga, the US government, and other stakeholders. In particular, she will meet with representatives of developing countries in order to discuss their expectations of the reform and identify shared goals for a successful reform.

Another key purpose of her visit is to encourage increased international support for the Sahel region and for countries along the West African coast. In early May, Schulze presented the BMZ's Sahel Plus Initiative and announced that she would run for the position of chair of the General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance, the most important body for the coordination of development cooperation with the five Sahel countries Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad.

According to the United Nations, the Sahel region has become an epicentre of Islamist terrorism. Schulze will engage with international partners such as the World Bank, the UN and the US to campaign for joint, coordinated support for the Sahel region. In her envisaged meeting with the permanent representatives of the Sahel countries and West African coastal countries to the UN, Schulze is eager, in particular, to listen to their proposals on how to improve the situation.

Schulze said, “Many people in the Sahel region end up joining terrorist groups not out of conviction but because they need an income. In such a setting, development efforts can help to create jobs and improve the food situation. If we act in unison with international partners, we can achieve more than individually. This is what I will be campaigning for during my visit to Washington and to the United Nations in New York. Germany is ready to assume more responsibility in the Sahel Alliance, the central donor coordination body for the region.”

The third focus of her visit will be the mid-term review of the 2030 Agenda. Under the Agenda, the United Nations member states unanimously agreed in 2015 that they would fight poverty worldwide and work for a better and more sustainable future for all. The international community is far off track to meet its 2015 promise. In New York, Schulze will have meetings with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and other high-ranking UN representatives and with civil society to discuss how political decisions can pave the way for far-reaching change so that the goals of the 2030 Agenda can still be reached.