WASHINGTON, October 11, 2008─ The World Bank Group today launched a financing facility to provide a simple, low cost way for developing countries to share their knowledge and expertise in overcoming poverty.
The new South-South Experience Exchange Facility is a new multi donor trust fund that promotes the idea that the development successes in one country can pull people out of poverty in another.
“In their quest to accelerate growth and improve living standards, policy makers in the developing world are constantly in search of innovative ideas. They see the experiences of their counterparts in emerging economies as increasingly relevant.”said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick.
Through the first grant from the new South-South Experience Exchange Facility efforts are underway to repeat India’s dairy revolution in Africa.
India’s unique program, popularly known as “Operation Flood”, revolutionized the country’s dairy industry. Once chronically short of milk, India is now the world’s largest producer of milk and dairy products. At the request of the Tanzanian Government, the Indian model has now been introduced to Africa; with the South-South trust funding visits to India by Tanzanian dairy farmers and others from Ethiopia and Uganda.
“Countries learn best by seeing how others have tackled similar issues. This initiative will help policy makers and others in low-income countries – who face serious problems and can’t afford the luxury of long waits to receive support – to benefit first hand from other developing countries,”said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Bank Group Managing Director.
Okonjo-Iwealasaid the dairy industry was a good place to start because of its considerable nutritional benefits for the poor and with India’s success in the past two decades, which has included and benefited the poorest of the poor as producers.
“This initiative, funded by commitments from both traditional and new donors, will bring solid and proven solutions faster where they are most needed in low income developing nations,”Okonjo-Iweala said. “Its credibility relies on the fact that it is developing country people sharing their own success.”
Seven donors – China, India, Mexico, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom – have already pledged support to the trust fund. Total contributions are expected to be around $10 million over three years.
The scope of the South-South Experience Exchange Facility is broad and is intended to respond to direct requests from developing countries, seeking knowledge. Its aim is to deepen South-South experiences by funding direct contact between developing countries, and through the creation of a web-based library of exchanges that will document, monitor and disseminate results, and distribute a roster of developing country experts.
It’s envisaged the trust fund could also help developing countries share expertise in areas such as:
managing commodity windfalls
developing efficient tax systems
adapting to new technologies
selecting public investment projects with high economic and social rates of return
creating social safety nets that benefit the poor.