When people think about New Zealand's most famous son, Sir Edmund Hillary, they mostly think about the quiet Auckland beekeeper who conquered Everest in 1953. Of course, there is much more to the man. He raised money for the Sherpa communities in Nepal that built schools, hospitals and much more. His commitment to the people of South Asia was also reflected in his successful term in the 1980s as New Zealand's high commissioner to India.
As the most senior New Zealander in the management of the World Bank, I have come to appreciate Sir Edmund's commitment to the people of South Asia and believe it shows how much New Zealand can offer the world. This will not only make the world a better place but can also help New Zealand too.
At the World Bank we have two big goals. We want to end extreme poverty by 2030 by cutting the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 a day to no more than 3 per cent of the world s population. Our second big goal is to promote shared prosperity in the world by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40 per cent for every country.
New Zealand is an important partner for the World Bank in achieving these goals. It is valued both for its thought leadership and financial support to the International Development Association, the World Bank's fund for the poorest countries, as well as its support for World Bank development work in the Pacific.
In recent years New Zealand's focus in its development policy has shifted to its own geographic area, with money and advice going increasingly to the Pacific area. This region is a legitimate source of concern for New Zealand. Failed states in the Pacific could have an immediate effect on the country.
I am far from alone in observing that geopolitical volatility is on the increase around the world, not just in the Pacific region. In working with others, New Zealand can also benefit from looking beyond the Pacific region to help address the causes of this instability before they hurt the country's interests, and those of New Zealand's trading partners.
Economic development plays an important role in stabilising countries. It can provide jobs and opportunities. With these jobs and opportunities comes hope. This can prevent local problems from becoming global ones. As history has shown, the world can pay a big price for failed states. They can export terrorism, piracy and communicable diseases, and destabilise nearby countries and possibly whole regions. Failed...