World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Wednesday that the global economic crisis pushed 60 million people into poverty and warned that the recovery is still fragile and uncertain in some areas.
Zoellick spoke at a news conference where he announced agreements on loans for Mexico totaling $800 million for development, infrastructure and cleaner transportation programs.
"While we see the world economy recovering, it's still uncertain," Zoellick said. "There are still frailties out there."
He estimated 60 million people had been impoverished by the 2008-2009 economic downturn, including 10 million in Latin America.
Mexican Finance Secretary Ernesto Cordero estimated at least 5.8 million of those new poor were in Mexico. Mexico defines poverty as people living on less than $2.85 a day.
The global slump was a setback for countries that had made progress in cutting the ranks of the needy over the last two decades.
"The good news is there has actually been some very significant progress in reducing poverty," Zoellick said. "The bad news is that the success tends to depend heavily on some of the progress in China, India, Mexico and Brazil. There's still major problems of poverty, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa."
He urged governments to focus on lowering costs and barriers for opening businesses and exporting goods and to invest in infrastructure and education.
He also said the World Bank is focusing on fighting climate change, although "there is still an anxiety in the developing world that this is a developed-world issue."
Mexico hosts the next world climate-change conference Nov. 29-Dec. 10.
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