The Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa attended the meetings of the Development Committee and the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), held in Washington DC at the side-lines of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings.
In his statement to the Development Committee on behalf of Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, the Minister welcomed the initiation of the discussion on shared prosperity. He argued that globally shared prosperity implies a shared responsibility between the public and private sectors, advanced and emerging markets, as well as Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and International Financial Institutions (IFIs).
Further, such prosperity will not be attained without more jobs that are good for development. The jobs challenge is larger than unemployment rates and surface interventions. With a global deficit of more than 600 million jobs in the next decade, the challenge is to ensure that jobs created are inclusive, private sector led, and highly productive.
The Minister highlighted the unprecedented risks and challenges faced by many countries in the MENA region that can compromise regional and global stability. He believed that the definition of conflict and fragility should go beyond the traditional boundaries to include countries at risk of falling into conflicts, including countries in transition and those affected by the spillovers of regional or neighbouring conflicts.
He concluded by highlighting a real threat to the level of action countries and the Bank can take; the absence of valid, reliable, and comprehensive data on poverty and shared prosperity. He also called on greater leadership and collaboration between the WBG, IMF, and UN to expeditiously kick start a "data revolution" that involves investing in the global data infrastructure.
The Development Committee asserted in its communiqué that the global economy remains on a "cautious watch" and is subject to considerable downside risks. Shared prosperity will require inclusive economic growth, job creation, and a sustained multilateral effort to empower the poorest and most vulnerable.
The committee underlined the importance of policies and institutions that promote an enabling environment for the development of the private sector, which is critical for investment, job creation, and inclusive and sustained economic growth, calling on the WBG to support countries to prioritize and implement tailored policies in these areas.
It commended the WBG for its leadership and quick response to the Ebola crisis, and welcomed the WBG and IMF’s rapid mobilization of emergency funding to support treatment and containment.
It also emphasized the crucial role of investment in infrastructure, including energy, in sustaining economic growth and ensuring shared prosperity, calling on the WBG and IMF to support countries to deliver efficient and sustainable energy, including through the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.
In its communiqué, the IMFC signalled an uneven recovery of the global economy that continues despite setbacks, with a number of countries facing the prospect of low or slowing growth and unemployment remaining unacceptably high.
The IMFC identified bolstering today’s actual growth and tomorrow’s potential growth as an utmost priority, while flexibly implementing fiscal strategies to support growth and job creation.
The committee welcomed the Fund’s scaled-up assistance to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, affected by Ebola, and supported the Fund’s stepped-up engagement with states in a fragile situation.