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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  March 19, 2019 4:30am-5:01am GMT

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this is the briefing. i'm ben bland. our top story. are talking of a constitutional crisis now the speaker of the house of commons has blocked the prime ministerfrom having a third go at getting her brexit deal passed by parliament, the uk government's brexit unless there's a substantial change. plans are in disarray the european union insists after they were blocked the current withdrawal deal in parliament with just cannot be changed. ten days to go. new zealand's prime minister, we are in a major constitutional jacinda ardern, has urged her fellow crisis here. the prime minister is citizens never to utter the name of the gunman who killed 50 people doing everything she can to try and break the impasse. at mosques in christchurch on friday. as new zealand mourns — in parliament, she said the country's prime minister he was a terrorist, criminal condemns the gunman and extremist who sought notoriety. who killed fifty people 30 people he wounded as a terrorist, criminal and extremist. speak the names of those are still in hospital. who were lost rather than the name dutch police have arrested a turkish man in the city of utrecht of the man who took them. where three people were killed he may have sought notoriety, in a gun attack on a tram on monday. but we, in new zealand, five were wounded. will give him nothing, schools were closed and people not even his name. warned to stay indoors as armed officers searched for the suspect. first the cyclone — now the floods. now on bbc news, hardtalk.
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welcome to hardtalk. i am stephen sackur. for more than seven decades, the world bank has been a pillar of an international consensus forged in washington. rich world money has been funnelled into poorer nations prepared to play by the rules set by the western overlords of multilateralism. but maybe that consensus is breaking down. the world bank is about to get a new trump nominated president who has been sharply critical of its past activities. my guest is a current interim head of the world bank, kristalina georgieva. is she braced for turbulence ahead?
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kristalina georgieva, welcome to hardtalk. thank you for having me. would you agree that this is a time, a very great uncertainty for the world bank? it is a time of uncertainty for the world. we see the world economy slowing down. there are concerns around debt, there are clouds because of trade. as for the world bank, we have never beenin as for the world bank, we have never been in such strong financial position in our entire history. we
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just got the largest capital increase, 50% boost, and that is because our shareholders, including the united states, believe that our work in the world is needed. in the end, it comes down to politics. there was a very striking financial times editorial just the other day when it became very clear that donald trump's nominee was going to be the next president and talk about him more in a minute. they wrote this. donald trump is sceptical about climate change and wa nts to sceptical about climate change and wants to cut china down to size. the world bank up until now at least has beenin world bank up until now at least has been in favour of aid, sees itself as central to the fighting global warming and has been in favour of
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lending to middle income companies like china. you are on some sort of collision course with donald trump and his nominee. actually, we are not. let me first say that it was it was exactly david malpas that was charged to leave the negotiations for the world bank. he was the one that signed a package that includes focus on climate change, fragility, gender equality, and also includes what i believe is actually right, a gradual shift of more resources of the world bank where we are needed the world bank where we are needed the most common in the most vulnerable, poor countries. but we also continue to be committed to lending to our letter of borrowers, and you would ask why. the answer is twofold. one financial answer. we cannot put all our money only in high—risk destinations, as you wouldn't want your bank do. and in better off countries, we actually learn, and we are this incredible transmission line of lessons from one place to another. our country in
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africa, in the rest of the poor asia, they want this to know how things are done in other places. you have gone quite deep into your investment strategy there, and i wa nt to investment strategy there, and i want to come back to it. before we do that, i must say on politics. you area do that, i must say on politics. you are a great political operator. you have been in the world bank a long time and you know how to play the politics of the organisation. but surely you acknowledge there is a fundamental problem when the incoming head of the operation, that is your boss to be, because you are the interim president, but david malpass will be the president, he has said in the recent past, he described the world bank as intrusive, he said multilateralism has gone substantially to fire, he said your operations are not very efficient, often you are corrupt in your lending practices and the benefits do not get to actual people in the countries on the ground. he is your boss. he does not like the
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way you have operated for years. which is why we needed to spend some time and talk about what has the world bank done to be more efficient, to be more focused on where the needs are most severe, and what i would tell you from my experience is that when you are clear that you want to do more for the most vulnerable, and you have a pathway, you can demonstrate you are doing it. when you are clear that we are tightening our belts so that we can squeeze more from the are tightening our belts so that we can squeeze more from the resources we have, you can convince people, and this is how we convince all our shareholders, including the us. you are saying all this with a smile. you are a highly recognised woman and cannot be considered for the top job simply because of this rule that goes back to the mid 1940s that the
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world bank has to be led by a nominee of the us government. does that not stick in your... this is a very good question for the shareholders. i tell you from my perspective, i love myjob as chief executive, the first in the history of the world bank. would you not enjoy the opportunity to be the president? i have had a period of time in which i could say the woman ru hs time in which i could say the woman runs a world bank, and i can tell you that for someone like me, i come from the other side of the iron curtain. i still remember in bulgaria getting up at four o'clock in the morning to queue for milk for my daughter. to be now the person who runs the world bank, that is a very, very, very long road i have travelled. very happily. so, yes, at some point, there ought to be a woman president of the bank. we have
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two strive to tap in a talent of woman. not only should there be a woman. not only should there be a woman at the head of the world bank, surely designed to accept that this anomalous thing which was arranged in the 1940s, the united states would always nominate the head of the world bank, it is time for that to end. another woman who thinks so is maria of the european network on debt and development, which works closely with the world bank and can put scrutiny on it, and she said recently, candidates from the global south and borrower countries, not just lenders but borrowers, should how just lenders but borrowers, should now be encouraged to apply, and there must be a transparent, fair election process. there isn't right how election process. there isn't right now and that is not acceptable. what you are talking about is important and it is for the shareholders of the bank. what they can tell you from our experience in the institution is that it is really critical for us to have all
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shareholders supporting us, and i am actually much more interested in keeping in this world of ours that is getting more complicated, not less, to keep this 189 shareholders together for a less, to keep this 189 shareholders togetherfor a common less, to keep this 189 shareholders together for a common purpose. let's move together for a common purpose. let's m ove o nto together for a common purpose. let's move onto something you have already raised, which is the strategy, the approach of the world bank. does it worry you that own former boss, jim kim, who of course was appointed by barack obama, he left and it surprised anyone, it surprise when he announced he was leaving?m surprised anyone, it surprise when he announced he was leaving? it was somewhat sudden, and i can say that jim kim had his motivation to do something else. he is right. the
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point i am getting too. he left three years earlier. you clearly we re three years earlier. you clearly were shocked. many other people inside the world bank were as well, and he seems to have left because he lost faith in the world bank's mission. he seems to believe towards the end that actually he could do much more good working in private equity, and the scale of finance he could leverage into infrastructure projects in the poorer parts of the world was much greater working in private equity. he said this is another path i'm going to make the lighted impact on major global issues like climate change and the infrastructure deficit. he lost faith. and this is clearly a conversation i hope you would have withjim kim in hardtalk. let me about the bank and why i think it is about the bank and why i think it is a great institution. we have been changing with the times. so we can serve the world of today and tomorrow. you look at us today, we are so tomorrow. you look at us today, we are so different from the bank we were, even the bank ijoined in 93. we are much more based in the countries, very often in very
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dangerous environments, like in afghanistan or iraq or mali. we are much more connected with the aspirations of people in these countries. and we have an enormous role to play on global issues like climate change. and when i look at the bank, why would shareholders vote with their wallets to give us more? because the world needs an institution like the bank. if you didn't exist, we wouldn't have to invent ——we would have had to invent it. you have so many critics now, despite what you have just said about how you are getting more money in the pot and you have more things you can do, so many critics saying that in terms of combating inequality and targeting those living in extreme poverty, you are failing in your most basic mission. one of the reasons is because you
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have become so preoccupied with persuading private equities and you have also become preoccupied with serving the needs of middle income countries, and we have touched on that, like china and like brazil. so, i would very respectfully taken argument in that different direction. one, we are very proud to be an institution that has contributed tremendously to reducing extreme poverty in the world and to creating more opportunities, more equality in the countries we serve. in1990, equality in the countries we serve. in 1990, extreme poverty was 36% of the population of this planet. today it is less than 10%. and we are concentrating exactly on the countries where the numbers are still fighting. we have been much more engaged on issues like making sure kids are in school, they stay
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there, that they have a chance in life. when i have a look at the problems of the world bank today, they are so much geared towards investing in opportunities and making sure that the inequality you are talking about is being tackled. with respect, the figures from 2013 through 2016 show that the effort to reduce extreme poverty in africa stalled, and at the same time, you are putting billions and billions of dollars into china and brazil. the question still remains, have you got your priorities wrong? we have our priorities right. we are shifting towards the lower income countries and also towards countries that are 0h and also towards countries that are on the frontline in this fight against extreme poverty. let me give you the numbers. we have now $25 billion average a year investing in
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the poorest countries. that is twice as much as it was only three years ago. even in the poorest countries, according to oxfam, according to the international trade union congress, you pursue policies which do not help the poorest, for example, you refuse to support universal benefit programmes, you are much keener 0h targeting benefits and on conditionality. both of which, according to oxfam, actually do not help the poorest people in the poorest countries. let me say this, we actually do exactly the opposite. we do target those that need us the most. let me give you an example, egypt. 7% of their gdp is going into energy subsidies benefiting the rich more than the poor. we engage with egypt
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to shrink this to half of its size, and then the money that is available to target education and healthcare goes to egypt, this targeting is actually right. explain this to me then. you have cited one example, egypt. let me cite you another example, won expert said that a policy you developed in kyrgistan, was designed to help the government, not the people. hist oracle evidence suggests the forces pushing for targeting are more regularly
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motivated by cup cutting entitlements and are more... we are interested in helping those who need assistance the most. let me say, of course we learn from experience. i am not saying that the bank knows it all and we am not saying that the bank knows it alland we are am not saying that the bank knows it all and we are always right, and it is possible that we had a targeted problem that didn't do a good enough job. when we review our portfolio, and by the way, i should stress that for poverty targeting we get higher scores among the development organisations. when we review our responsibilities, we always say, what is it that we need to do to learn better. you have just said something very important — we like to learn from our experiences and admit our mistakes. how can that be
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squared with the world bank fighting in the us courts to deny the right of those who have been damaged by world bank programmes, and i am thinking about a particular programme in india, you went to court to try to gain immunity from those poor farmers and fishermen who we re those poor farmers and fishermen who were protesting that the world bank financed coal project in their region had damaged theirfarming and their fishing. region had damaged theirfarming and theirfishing. and you said no, you cannot sue us, we are immune from any sort of legal action. first, we do not want to be outside the framework of accountability. we actually like to be accountable to the people we serve, and to our taxpayers. inaudible. this is an ifc project, it is still in the courts. yes, the ifc is... yes, it is still
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in the court, it is very difficult for me to comment on a case like this because it is still in the courts. but on the issue you bring, of course, through history, the world bank recognised that accountability makes us better. if we wa nt accountability makes us better. if we want to be acceptable to the world, we ought to be accountable, so we world, we ought to be accountable, so we built a special panel mechanism, accountability that is not with management, it is straight with our board of directors, and we have open ourselves to scrutiny more than any other organisation i can think of. but you are trying to close down a legal action against you by some of the poorest people, farmers and fishermen, in the good iraq province of india, and bharat patel, the general secretary of the association of the struggle for fishworkers rights, says that this case has become a major step towards holding the world bank accountable for the negative impact that their
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policies are having. i welcome that. but you are not welcoming it, you are trying to shut it down. it is a legal case, you are putting me in an awkward area because i cannot comment on a legal case. i can only tell you that... comment on a legal case. i can only tell you that. .. you think the world bank should have immunity or not? the world bank's immunities stem from our articles of agreement, but immunity doesn't mean lack of accountability. it doesn't mean we can do whatever we want, and actually, it you ask me, i would love to see us always lifting the standard of accountability as we have been doing it over the last decade. i understand that you have a vast number of projects... the case would make anything that happens makes us better. let's talk about one other case. you can't be across every one that i suspect you know this one, because in honduras
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peasant farmers have sued another institution of the world bank over its financing of the corporation which runs vast palm oil plantations which runs vast palm oil plantations which the local farmers say that being involved with violence, with attacks on them and their peasant farming operations, the private security forces of the palm oil operation have been accused of abuses of human rights on a systemic scale, and yet you are still involved with the project. how can that be? again, this is a case that is in the courts and i am really sorry that i have to say it is in the courts and i cannot comment on the courts and i cannot comment on the case. what they can tell you is that... it feels like there is something wrong here, to quote an ecologist, he says "the problem is that world bank projects leave a trail of evictions, displacements, forest destruction... " it is true that there are projects were we
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haven't done the best possible job. it is also true that every time we learn we do better. i will give you an example, last week, i was in kenya visiting a project that we have been supporting since the 70s. it isa have been supporting since the 70s. it is a dual terminal elytra city producing plant. in order to build this plant an entire community had to be resettled. in the process of resettlement, there were some m ista kes resettlement, there were some mistakes done, the community came to our panel, we review the project and make corrections, and now when i visited the community, i saw the children in a good school, the elders happy with the housing and health centre they have received. you are the interim president of the world bank. it might be a very opportune time for you to say to me that we have not been as transparent and as accountable as we need to be,
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and as accountable as we need to be, and that is a challenge that david malthouse, who is about to take the job of president of the world bank, will need to live up to. we have been ranked in transparency as being at the top, ranked by organisations that protect you, the british taxpayer. we have been ranked as an organisation that has significantly improved its record on transparency and accountability. i, of course, would like us to do better. there is no other way for us to justify your support as a taxpayer, but to co nsta ntly support as a taxpayer, but to constantly raise the bar for how we perform. and you know, it is not even about you and me. it is about people who depend on a strong institution, capable of solving the problems they face, and i am proud
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to be part of that institution. and i'm telling you we will do better, stephen. motive, that is noted. we will end with one last thought about the great uncertainty referred to at the great uncertainty referred to at the beginning. two big problems right now, beyond everything we have discussed, structural problems. one is the united states and china, still at risk of a very serious trade war. and another, which is in fa ct closer to trade war. and another, which is in fact closer to home for me in the london studio, tracksuit. do you see both of those is challenging, not just for the rich world but for the wider global economy? -- brexit. it is creating uncertainty, which is a lwa ys is creating uncertainty, which is always bad for business and development. on trade, we need to remember that trade has served us really well. in the four decades between the 70s and 2010, trade increased by seven times, and
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victims of conflict dropped by 94%. so, trade is good forjobs and it is also good for peace, it raises the opportunity cost of conflict. it is so opportunity cost of conflict. it is so important that we protect our functioning as an integrated world when it comes down to trade, fix the problems we have, because it is not like we are perfect, there are people who have been left behind because of structural change generated or supported by trade. on brexit, it is again an element of uncertainty. the british economy has proven to be more resilient than people thought some time ago, and so did the neighbourhood of europe. it is of course after the british people to decide how they go about their country. for the rest of the
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world, the sooner there is clarity, what would happen? the better. world, the sooner there is clarity, what would happen? the betterlj think we will have to end there, we could talk brexit for much longer, but we can't because we're out of time. kristalina georgieva, thank you for being on hardtalk. thank you very much, stephen. hello there. last week, we were bombarded by deep areas of low pressure, bringing gales and heavy rain, but i'm thankful to say this week is looking much quieter. we've got high pressure, i think, in the driving seat for many of us, so it'll be a lot more settled and quite mild. although we'll have quite a bit of cloud around,
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where you get the sunshine, it'll feel very springlike indeed. this is the area of high pressure which will be dominating the weather for us throughout this week. but we've still got a few weather fronts to contend with in the short term. so it does look like, early on tuesday, quite a lot of cloud around, some showery bursts of rain across northern and western areas, and it will be breezier here as well. so with all the cloud cover, i think, and even the rain and the breeze, it's not going to be a particularly cold start to tuesday. but there will be quite a bit of cloud around. sunshine will be limited. i think probably the best of any, if you get some, will be the north—east of scotland, perhaps some spots across eastern england. but elsewhere, quite a bit of cloud, thickest across the north—west, where we'll see further outbreaks of rain, and it'll be breezier here too. so 11—14 celsius for scotland. further south, 12, 13 degrees, maybe 1a celsius in the south—east, which is actually pretty mild — a little bit higher
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than what we should be looking at this time of year. but things are set to turn even milder midweek onwards. this big wedge of air will move in off the atlantic. the orange and yellow colours denote that. and it does look like, if we get some sunshine across the eastern side of the country, then those temperatures will shoot up. but again, another very cloudy day, i think, across northern and western areas. thickest of the cloud across the west of scotland, where it'll be quite breezy. 13, maybe 1a degrees here. but across the south and the east, given some sunshine, we could be looking at 16 or 17 celsius. we've still got high pressure with us, dominating the scene, i think, for much of england and wales. this weather front will bring thicker cloud, outbreaks of rain to scotland and then to northern ireland later in the day, and it will become quite windy here too, as well, so a bit of a different feel to the weather here. further south though, largely settled, variable cloud, a little bit of sunshine and again very mild, with temperatures reaching 15 or 16 degrees. something a bit cooler behind this weather front — nine or 10 celsius there, lower for stornoway. this weather front begins to slip south—east, but fizzles out as it does throughout friday. so we'll see outbreaks of rain for scotland and northern ireland,
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then into north—western parts of england and north—west wales later on. those temperatures dropping a little bit here, but still very mild, with some sunshine across the south and the east. now, it looks like that weather front will slip southwards during friday night, and then for the weekend, something a little bit cooler, as you can see. temperatures down a notch, but it looks still largely settled, with variable cloud, a bit of sunshine.
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