World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Friday announced a program to slash costs and reduce bureaucracy at the huge development organization that is expected to result in significant layoffs.

Kim said the Bank would seek to reduce annual costs by $400 million a year, restructuring to reduce compartmentalization and cut bureaucracy, to better deliver bank services in its fight against poverty and underdevelopment.

He also said the Bank would "strategically review our staffing," seeming to confirm recent rumors within the bank that he plans to make sharp cuts to its 10,000 staff.

Kim said the Bank's clients -- mostly poor and emerging economies which need its advice, funding for basic infrastructure, and other supports -- had come to see it as overly complex and bureaucratic, and were turning away from it.

"That should never happen," he told the opening session of the annual World Bank/ International Monetary Fund meeting.

"A development institution, like a business, needs to find innovative solutions, capture best practices, and share lessons of success and failure widely and quickly as possible."

He described a Bank that had become compartmentalized along regional lines -- which he branded "silos" -- that prevented one area's expertise from being available to another.

He said he planned to restructure the Bank into groupings of technical experts, by their specialties, who can deliver their knowledge anywhere in the world.

"Under our new organizational model, when you ask us for help, we'll look across our entire institution and offer the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art global knowledge and experience, with a deep bench of experts who know what has worked and what hasn't in all regions of the world."

"We're committed to being a partner that will be easier to work with."

He said that the Bank aimed to achieve a reduction in annual costs of $400 million a year over the next three years.

That would be done by addressing staffing levels, simplifying the bureaucracy, and reducing costs from travel and facilities, he said.


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