UN Appoints Nigeria as Coordinator, Poverty Eradication Group

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande
  • World Bank names two vice presidents for Africa

Obinna Chima in Lagos and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The United Nations has appointed Nigeria as the coordinator of the newly-launched poverty eradication group, aimed at confronting complex and the multi-sided challenges posed by poverty to humanity worldwide.

The World Bank has also picked two vice presidents to manage its activities in Africa, focusing on Western and Central, and Eastern and Southern Africa respectively.

The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, in a statement yesterday, was quoted to have said that poverty was the most formidable obstacle to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Muhammad-Bande, who spoke at the formal inauguration of the group at a High-Level Meeting on ‘Poverty Eradication Strategies’ in New York, lamented that poverty has become a blot on humanity’s conscience, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation.

The group is headed by the Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Ambassador Samson Itegboje, as interim coordinator.

Muhammad-Bande said with 30 founding member-states and still growing, “Alliance for Poverty Eradication” is the ‘signature event’ which is being chaired by Nigeria as its interim coordinator.

The UNGA president added that to alleviate the problem, the group should pull together all the factors and interests in poverty eradication and serve as one-stop networking, information sharing, and bridge-building centre.

Muhammad-Bande said: “Before the onset of the pandemic, 2.1 billion people were classified as poor globally, with 767 million living in extreme poverty. It is estimated that by the year 2030, more than 100 million people would have relapsed into poverty, due to COVID-19 and climate change.

“The Alliance should provide a mechanism for interrogating the poverty challenge from all possible, or at least, multi-disciplinary, angles. There is no amount of time and attention given to poverty eradication that is too much.”
Also, Itegboje said Muhammad-Bande had demonstrated his commitment to leave no one behind by launching the initiative at the outset of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.

According to him, being the topmost priority goal of the agenda for sustainable development, eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is important now more than ever.

Itegboje added: “Evidence indicates that poverty is the foundation of most social vices and crimes, such as terrorism, illegal migration, conflicts, violent extremism, intolerance, fraudulent practices, exclusion, piracy, human trafficking, drug trafficking and abuse and corrupt practices both in high and low places.”

Itegboje noted that it was against this background that his delegation wished to stress that time was ripe for the international community to develop structures and strategies to address the scourge of poverty.

He explained that the Alliance for Poverty Eradication must offer hope and clearly point the world in the right direction, particularly coming at a time when the dismantling of economic activities globally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to revise gains already made in the achievement of the 2030 agenda as well as push additional half a billion people into extreme poverty.


World Bank Appoints Two Vice Presidents for Africa

The World Bank’s activities in Africa would now be managed by two vice presidents, covering Western and Central and Eastern and Southern Africa, respectively.

The development, which was announced by the bank early 2020, took effect yesterday, the World Bank said in a statement. Previously, the region was being led since 2018 by Hafez Ghanem, who yesterday was appointed Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa, while Ousmane Diagana becomes Vice President for Western and Central Africa today.

The bank added that, this year, the Washington-based multilateral institution would lend about $50 billion to 48 countries in Africa – significantly more than any other region and making up about one-third of the World Bank’s entire portfolio.

“These financing volumes are almost double what the region delivered ten years ago. The bank’s portfolio includes projects and programmes in areas such as agriculture, trade, and transport, energy, education, health, water, and sanitation. Furthermore, the growth in financing to fragile states has been even higher with about two-thirds of World Bank financing to fragile states happening in Africa.

“Our commitment to Africa gets stronger every day, and I am thrilled to work alongside Ousmane Diagana to deliver even more resources to the people who need them the most.

“We are two vice presidents, but we see Africa as one and will continue sharing lessons, expertise, and ideas across the continent,” Ghanem said.

According to the statement, the creation of an additional Vice Presidency Unit is part of the World Bank Group’s continuous efforts to align resources with priorities.

This, it noted, would help drive the reforms and policies needed to achieve sustained and broad-based growth, alleviate poverty and raise living standards for people on the continent.

Diagana said: “I am honoured to lead the bank’s efforts in West and Central Africa, with a strong focus on innovation, impact, and transformation. Working together with Hafez, I know we can and will do more to put countries and people first and find ways to confront today’s development challenges using all of the tools at our disposal.”