World Bank president: 'One shock away from crisis'

Mr Zoellick said the world should not forget the lesson of the last financial crisis

The president of the World Bank has warned that the world is "one shock away from a full-blown crisis".

Robert Zoellick cited rising food prices as the main threat to poor nations who risk "losing a generation".

He was speaking in Washington at the end of the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Meanwhile, G20 finance chiefs, who also met in Washington, pledged financial support to help new governments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Mr Zoellick said such support was vital.

"The crisis in the Middle East and North Africa underscores how we need to put the conclusions from our latest world development report into practice. The report highlighted the importance of citizen security, justice and jobs," he said.

He also called for the World Bank to act quickly to support reforms in the region.

"Waiting for the situation to stabilise will mean lost opportunities. In revolutionary moments the status quo is not a winning hand."

Food price changes Q1 2010 to Q1 2011

Source: World Bank Development Prospects Group

Maize

74%

Wheat

69%

Palm oil

55%

Soybeans

36%

Beef

30%

Rice

-2%

At the Washington meetings, turmoil in the Middle East, volatile oil prices and high unemployment were also discussed.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn raised particular concerns about high levels of unemployment among young people.

"It's probably too much to say that it's a jobless recovery, but it's certainly a recovery with not enough jobs," he said.

"Especially because of youth unemployment... there is now a risk that this will be turned into a life sentence, and that there is a possibility of a lost generation," he said.

More on This Story

Global Economy

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

Features

  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents


  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?


  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force


  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath


  • A ship is dismantled for scrap in the port city of Chittagong, BangladeshDangerous work

    Bangladesh's ship breakers face economic challenge


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.