World Bank Lead Economist Wolfgang Fengler on Eradicating Poverty


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May 04 2020 26 mins  
Wolfgang Fengler has spent over 18 years at the World Bank. In this podcast, he explains What the World Bank mission to end poverty looks like in day-to-day processes, How their system for offering loans and grants to countries works, and What are some of the greatest successes he’s seen in his time there. Wolfgang Fengler is the Lead Economist in Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation at the World Bank. He’s lived on 4 continents (North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe) over the course of his work there and is now headquartered in Vienna at the World Bank hub. He talks about the main functions of the World Bank, namely to follow the mission of making the world free of poverty with the goal of longevity always at the forefront of projects. Fengler explains what this looks like on a smaller scale to enhance development and further knowledge transfer. He explains how a loan may develop in a small to medium-sized country, from initiation to weekly meetings to a results-based approach. He also discusses some individual projects, such as a current project in Kazakhstan he’s overseeing that involves a large digital operation and research on the world data economy. He emphasizes the importance of longevity in all that they initiate, from education to infrastructure to health systems. As an example of on the World Bank’s successes, he describes the results of their involvement with Indonesia and surrounding areas after the Tsunami. Finally, he addresses their current actions to mitigate the coronavirus, including mobilizing resources to countries in for health systems and efforts to address the economic effects. They’ve also accelerated projects that would normally take a year and now needs to take a month because the need is so urgent. There are also a number of projects already in some countries that they were able to piggyback on. For more, see https://www.worldbank.org/. If you have a business you’d like them to connect with, see their private sector arm, https://www.ifc.org/, and find an IFC office in your country.