Janet Yellen confident of World Bank reform and continuing Ukraine aid

Treasury Secretary upbeat about chances of securing more financial assistance for Ukraine

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. AP
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US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is upbeat about progress being made to reform the World Bank, and also expressed confidence that Washington will continue to win support for Ukraine aid.

Speaking on Friday at a press conference in New Delhi ahead of the G20 Summit, Ms Yellen reiterated that multilateral development banks (MDBs) can unlock $200 billion in lending capacity in the next 10 years that could be used to address global challenges.

“Those are crucial additional resources for reducing poverty, advancing global health security, and combating climate change," she said.

Continuing MDB reform and supporting emerging markets is a key priority for President Joe Biden's administration during G20 events held in India this weekend.

Mr Biden's administration has also requested $2.25 billion from Congress to fund the World Bank that would address global challenges and climate response. Ms Yellen said the administration has also requested authorisation for a loan of up to $21 billion for the International Monetary Fund.

This is Ms Yellen's fourth trip to India in the past year as part of efforts to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Ms Yellen said advancing the US and India's relationship is a priority, and expanding economic co-operation is “crucially important”.

The G20 Summit this weekend is clouded by the absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which comes in a period of increased tensions with the US.

Ms Yellen said China's economic outlook faces short and long-term challenges that the White House has been monitoring, noting that Beijing has space to address those challenges.

Ukraine aid

Ms Yellen was also confident that Mr Biden can secure more financial assistance to Ukraine despite the prospects of a potential government shutdown at the end of the month.

“There has been bipartisan support for this funding to date and it’s critical that we continue to provide timely economic assistance,” she said.

The White House has asked for more than $24 billion in financial assistance for Ukraine as part of a bill to keep the government operating beyond October 1. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is considering splitting Ukraine aid from the bill, which the White House opposes.

Republicans in Congress are divided on how to address financial assistance for Ukraine.

Additionally, Ms Yellen said the US must stay focused on the consequences of the war in Ukraine, including food security, which is particularly concerning for low and middle-incoming countries.

“Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain initiative is deeply concerning,” she said.

Updated: September 08, 2023, 12:58 PM