Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Brexit Is One of the Biggest Risks Seen by World Bank, Kim Says

  • Developing nations already vulnerable after commodity slump
  • Officials have studied impact closely, president tells BBC

Global uncertainty caused by a possible U.K. exit from the European Union is a threat to developing nations that are already reeling from the commodity slump, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

“There are huge problems in developing countries, and we’re very worried they’ll get much worse if there is a Brexit,” Kim told BBC Radio 4’s World at One program on Monday. “There’s no question that for us, the threat of Brexit is one of the biggest risks we face.”

Jim Yong Kim

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Kim’s comments build on the Washington-based institution’s warning in April of the potential cost posed by a so-called Brexit. They also chime with Kenya’s central bank governor, who said earlier this month that an outcome where Britain left the EU would affect “everybody in the world” and is a more serious threat to his country than the slowdown in China.

“We focus mostly on low- and middle-income countries” and “don’t comment on specific situations in countries we don’t work in directly,” Kim said. “But we do want to emphasize the point that the stability of the British economy is important for the stability of the global economy.”

Kim said staff at the World Bank have considered the possible fallout.

“Well we’ve studied and watched the potential impacts very closely and there’s no doubt that uncertainty in global capital markets is very negative for the global economy at this time,” he said.

Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has publicly supported the campaign to keep the U.K. in the EU.

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