Jul 122013

Axel von Trotsenburg, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific (Jovan Cerda)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has to create more jobs to reduce poverty and sustain high economic growth, the World Bank said on Friday.

“Turning high growth into inclusive growth is increasingly important for the Philippines, by deepening and accelerating reforms that will create more and better jobs to reduce poverty,” Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific said.

Van Trotsenburg said job generation supported by quality education remains a big challenge in the Philippines and other countries in the world, and the country needs to create high-paying jobs directed to the youth sector.

The unemployment rate in the country jumped to 7.5 percent in April from the 6.9 percent in 2012 despite gross domestic product soaring by 6.8 percent in 2012 and a 7.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013. For this year, World Bank expects the Philippines to grow by 6.2 percent.

Van Trotsenburg earlier met President Benigno Aquino III and the government’s economic team to discuss areas where the multilateral financial institution can help the country in funding projects aimed at reducing poverty and improving governance in the Philippines. He also noted the transfer of the $300-million development policy loan aimed at spurring job-creating and poverty-reducing growth in the country.

“There is clear convergence with the government’s goal of inclusive growth and the World Bank Group’s twin goals to end extreme global poverty by 2030 and promote shared responsibility for the bottom 40 percent of the population in each country,” van Trotsenburg said.

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He also visited the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and talked with Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Murad Ebrahim about the ongoing peace talks and the need for investments that will support growth in the region.

“We believe very strongly in peace,” said von Trotsenburg, adding that although the bank doesn’t get involved in peace negotiations, it is supportive of long-term development efforts in Mindanao which depend on the success of the peace talks.

Currently, the World Bank is supporting the Philippine government in development challenges that include job creation especially in the rural areas, strengthening of the conditional cash transfer program, implementation of the K to 12 education program and universal healthcare, infrastructure development and climate change adaptation.

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