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World Bank economist visits International Economics and Finance Society

By Matt Mulkeen
On November 8, 2010

World Bank economist Onur Ozlu gave a presentation to members of the International Economics and Finance Society in Van Munching Hall last week.

Ozlu, an operations officer for the Africa region of the World Bank, began by giving an overview of the bank, and covered its 1950s origins to its current activities. After he covered the bank's chronology, Ozlu dove into the World Bank's present day focus: eliminating poverty across the world.

"In 2006, we did a survey around the world to try to understand what poverty is,"

Ozlu said. "It's not just a money problem."

Ozlu went on to describe that in order to fight poverty globally, the World Bank must address challenges associated with food scarcity, health, housing, education, jobs, security, water and giving people in developing nations a voice.

"For a lot of things we work on, we very much work on access," said Ozlu, who

added that the things impoverished people lack often exist but aren't accessible to them.

 Touching on the World Bank's role as a multilateral organization, Ozlu discussed different partners the bank works with to accomplish its goals. He also mentioned the bank's funding, which includes international bond markets, donor commitments, repayments and trust funds.

In the presentation's conclusion, Ozlu predicted some statistics for the future. He said that in the next 20 years, 50 million people will enter the "rich world," while 1.5 billion will fall into the "poor world."

"This is threatening for global peace and security which is why we do our work at

the bank," said Ozlu.

Before leaving, Ozlu answered students' questions, which ranged in topic from nation-building, to debts, to projects that Ozlu is working on in Africa.

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