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Washington (AFP) – The World Bank is aiming to save $400 million over three years in an overhaul of the poverty-fighting institution, a person familiar with the matter told AFP Tuesday.

“What we’re looking at is, over three years, achieving a cost saving of $400 million” on the $5 billion needed annually to operate the World Bank and its five branches, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Asked whether the new strategy would lead to job cuts, the source simply said that management was hoping to “find ways with minimized disruptions.”

The World Bank, which holds its annual meetings with the International Monetary Fund later this week in Washington, currently has roughly 10,000 staff in more than 120 countries.

The Bank this year set the goal of wiping out extreme poverty worldwide by 2030 and boosting incomes for the poorest 40 percent of the world’s population but it faces a more competitive market after the emergence of new development sources, including China and in the private sector.

“We need to continue to grow in order to achieve our poverty and prosperity goals so what we’re doing with the strategy is essentially allowing the bank to achieve these goals,” the person said.

“What we find is that for every $100 million that we’re able to reinvest we can mobilize an additional billion in IBRD lending,” the person added, referring to the Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In the strategy plan to be submitted to its 188 member nations this week and reviewed by AFP, the World Bank says it needs to become more selective in its development projects.

Last week, the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said the lender was seeking to coordinate all its parts to focus on common goals and principles and eliminate self-enclosed areas of influence, or silos.

“Silos perform a critical function in the cornfields of Iowa but they have no place at the World Bank Group,” he said in a speech at George Washington University.

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

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