Globalization With a Human face

Globalization With a 'Human Face' Urged

 

Addis tribune (02/18/00) By Our Staff Reporter

 

Globalization must have a 'human face' and help improve the daily lives of the 1.3 billion people worldwide who live on less

than $1 a day, World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn told Wednesday the tenth ministerial meeting of the UN

Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), according to informed sources at the World Bank. The World Bank

Friday approved US$3 million in funding for the Second Public Sector Reform and Capacity Building Project in Cape Verde.

 

"Globalization is here to stay. Thus, the challenge to us all is to harness the positive aspects of globalization in the cause of

development and poverty reduction, and to offset its less positive aspects for those adversely affected. We need globalization

that promotes social equity and works for the poor," Wolfensohn told participants.

 

The World Bank president recognized the feelings of many who had expressed concerns about globalization, which can create

losers and winners. The key is to cushion the ups and downs of trade liberalization by making sure that the poor still had access to basic services such as health care and education.

 

Wolfensohn urged leaders at this week's UNCTAD summit to focus especially on liberalizing trade in agriculture—an area that

could be a boon for the world's poor. While agriculture made up only eight percent of upper-middle income country

economies, it accounts for a whopping one-third of poor countries' gross national product.

 

Despite this, industrialized countries impose barriers on agricultural goods from developing countries that are five times higher

than for manufactured goods.

 

"It makes no sense to exhort poor countries to compete and pay their way in the world while we simultaneously deny them the

means to do so, by restricting their market access in areas such as agriculture where they have a comparative advantage," he

said. "We must work flexibly and creatively towards a world trading system that really makes a difference for developing

countries."

 

Wolfensohn called on the international community to give free market access for all the exports of the 40 countries currently

eligible for debt relief under the World Bank/IMF Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.

 

Earlier this week, the World Bank Group's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), teamed up with

Japan's SOFTBANK on an initiative to narrow the global digital divide and jumpstart the new digital economy in the

developing world by spawning startup Internet companies in some 100 developing countries