December 16 , 2020

Martin Raiser speaks at the launch of the Global Young Leaders Dialogue

On December 15, 2020, Martin Raiser, World Bank’s country director for China spoke at the launch of the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) Program. The following is an abridged transcript of the speech, which has been edited for length and clarity.


Good afternoon everybody. My name is Martin Raiser and the country director of the World Bank. It’s really a privilege to been asked to address this seminar of youth leaders of the Center for China and Globalization. I’m very sad that because of a travel outside of Beijing, I’m not able to join you in person this afternoon. But I did want to share a few thoughts about this particular moment that the world find itself in and the importance of multilateral collaboration.

COVID-19 has brought home if we need it reminding how interconnected we all are, and how the world’s problems today need global collaboration for a sustainable resolution. This is true most immediately in the public health response. It’s also true hopefully in the course of next year in the purchase and the distribution of the vaccine, so that we can finally get out of this pandemic.

But it’s also true as we look at the economic consequences of the pandemic in terms of the deep impact on poverty that we see around the world, the impact on debt, and debts’ sustainability in many of the poorest countries and the need to build back batter to learn from the pandemic to build a more sustainable the future for our generation and the generation of our children.

So this is really the challenge. And it seems to me that the crisis has revealed once more how none of these challenges can be resolved without global collaboration. And that includes conversations and dialogue, even between partners and stakeholders that may not agree on everything. One of the things that we have found as multilateral financial institutions is that sometimes countries that disagree with each other bilaterally, can find ways to resolve differences in the multilateral platform by talking together.

And so let me close by sharing an anecdote on how I got into multilateral development work. A friend of my father told me, he was a development specialist. He said, I’ve spent all of my work in life trying to resolve the problems of development. I’ve made some successes and I’ve had many failures.

Now it’s time for the next generation to take over. As I’m already well past the midpoint in my career, I say to you today, I look forward to the youth leaders of tomorrow to solve those development problems that my generation hasn’t been able to solve. I hope that you’ll get as excited and as rewarded by this work, as I have been and as I will continue to be in my career. So with that let me wish you a very successful seminar this afternoon. Excellent discussions! And I hope to hear more from you as your own careers progress. Thank you very much for your attention!

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