Profile of Professor Jeffrey Sachs; and a radical shift in World Bank policy

As part of our contributions to EMEA Finance magazine, we produced two articles for their Summer 2017 edition. The first was a profile of Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economics professors and lifelong campaigner on poverty and climate change. The profile was based on his new book, Building the New American Economy, and a talk he gave in London. Sachs made clear his anger at and concern over the agenda put forward by US President Donald Trump. He is worried that Trump’s  attitude towards climate change and protectionism is emblematic of a retreat away from the US’s role as a major international power in terms of trade and security. “We have moved to a multi-polar world but America has an incoherent response to this.” He does strike a positive note, however, saying: “We are in the middle of really profound change. If we are smart and we are lucky we will get to something very good. The crises are real and serious but are manageable.” The article is here.

Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank, made a rare visit to London – public visits tend to be in emerging and developing countries. He set out a radical agenda for his second term that will move it away from direct funding towards de-risking projects in Africa to make them more attractive to private capital. Rather than provide direct funding as a first response, the Bank will use its resources to “crowd in” the private sector. Kim said that with trillions of dollars “sitting on the sidelines, earning little interest”, the Bank was determined to mobilise investors looking for better opportunities to help it meet the rising aspirations across the developing world. As he says: “We need to have a different and difficult conversation about how we approach development finance.”