December 2014

Spotlight – In international business, almost every market around the world does things in a different way. This often leads to misunderstandings and unfulfilled expectations. However, different does not need to mean difficult and knowledge of the needs and characteristics of specific geographic markets is an advantage to those who are active in the global economy. These articles help you understand different aspects of the insurance industry around the world, enabling those who do business there to feel more “at home, abroad.”

In 1990, 36% of the world’s population were living on less than US$1.25 a day. In 2010, that figure reduced to 18% and by 2030, it will be 3%. Who worked this out and who manages this? The World Bank. To achieve this milestone, one million people a week will have to lift themselves out of poverty, according to the President, Jim Yong Kim.

In its annual report for 2014 which has just been published, he said that “two years ago, the World Bank Group began down a path of renewal and change to prepare our organisation to take on its toughest challenge yet – to end extreme poverty in a single generation. At the 2013 Spring Meetings, we adopted two ambitious goals: to end extreme poverty by 2040 and to boost shared prosperity for the poorest 40% in developing countries.”

Laudable goals – but achievable. The strategy to achieve these goals has been thrashed out and agreed by the four major players who will implement it. An example of how progress has already been made is Armenia where 95% of all citizens have access to qualified family practices for basic healthcare services.

As all insurance and risk managers know, healthcare and social security arrangements are different in every country in the world and in developing countries and emerging markets, the range of products available to fill the gap is rarely adequate. The results of the efforts of the World Bank make it easier, however, for the commercial organisations to identify opportunities and dovetail their offerings accordingly. We recommend our readers study this Annual Report (http://www.worldbank.org/en/about/annual-report) so you can see for yourselves what has been and what needs to be done.

Any questions or comments can be addressed to the General Enquiries section which can be found at http://www.worldbank.org/en/about/contacts