During an investor conference in Saudi Arabia, the President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, expressed concerns about the Israel-Hamas conflict, stating that it could have a “serious” negative impact on global economic development.
He emphasized that the recent events in Israel and Gaza, when considered collectively, pose an even more substantial threat to economic development and that the world is at a critical juncture.
The conflict began when Hamas militants infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, resulting in the death of over 1,400 individuals, primarily civilians who were either shot or died in fires on the initial day of the raid, as reported by Israeli authorities.
The militants also took 222 people hostage, including elderly individuals and young children, according to the latest figures from Israeli authorities.
Among the hostages, there are several dual nationals and foreigners. The retaliatory Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have resulted in the deaths of over 5,000 Palestinians, primarily civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Ajay Banga delivered these remarks at the annual Future Investment Initiative, often referred to as “Davos in the Desert.”
The event has more than 6,000 registered delegates and will feature prominent figures, including global banking leaders and the presidents of South Korea, Kenya, and Rwanda, according to the organizers.
The ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza starkly contrasts with the vision of a more stable and prosperous Middle East that Saudi Arabia has championed.
Saudi Arabia had been working to rebuild ties with Iran and was in talks to recognize Israel before the outbreak of hostilities.