World Bank boss: U.S. debt crisis will hit globe's 'poorest'
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 1846 GMT (0246 HKT)
- World Bank head says U.S. debt crisis could be 'devastating' for global economy
- Jim Yong Kim spoke Richard Quest in Washington D.C., where economic leaders are gathered
- Kim said those involved in the political wrangling needed to remember it would hit the 'little guys' hard
(CNN) -- A U.S. default on its debt would be "devastating" for the global economy and would hit the poor particularly hard, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim told CNN's Richard Quest Wednesday.
Quest spoke to Kim in Washington D.C., where the world's economic and political world leaders have gathered for the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
READ MORE: Will glitches derail Obamacare?
The meetings come in the shadow of a partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government and amid fears the world's largest economy will be unable to pay all its bills later this month due to failure by politicians to raise the country's borrowing limit.
We often forget it has a direct impact on the poorest
Jim Yong Kim , World Bank president
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama said he was ready to talk about Republicans' demands in an effort to end the stand-off, but he wanted Congress to first end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, even if just for a short period.
Kim said he did not want to comment on the politics but those involved in the wrangling needed to remember that "even if there is something heroic right at the end...it's having an impact on the little guys."
IMF: Debt default could damage economy
READ MORE: By the numbers: Shutdown and debt ceiling
Economist: I think Obama will step in
The debt crisis had the potential to be "devastating," with the threat of default the "greatest concern" he said.
Economist: This could be another Lehman
The closer the U.S. got to default, the greater impact it would have on the globe's poorest -- such as the rice farmer in South East Asia, or young person in the Middle East trying to start a business -- as the cost of capital rose. "We often forget it has a direct impact on the poorest," Kim said.
The World Bank had prepared contingency plans to support countries if the U.S. debt crisis further roiled global markets, Kim said. "We're ready to move...to support the poorest countries," he said. "The muscle memory is in place, we are ready to go."
WATCH MORE: IMF: Debt default could damage economy
Meanwhile, the World Bank is focused on halving poverty from 18% to 9% by 2020, Kim told Quest. Extreme poverty is in retreat but the World Bank had set an interim target to ensure it was able to reach its goal of bringing poverty down to 3% by 2030.
"We have a huge amount of work to do," but an interim goal would ensure the World Bank remained on track, Kim said. Those who remained in poverty beyond that are among the hardest to reach, and would require focused assistance, Kim added.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.