World Bank boss to visit Africa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pretoria - World Bank President Robert Zoellick will begin a three-nation Africa visit next week aimed at economic growth and overcoming poverty on the continent.

Although affected by the global food, fuel and financial crises, African governments are said to have persisted in strengthening their economic policies as they pursue development or rebuild after conflict.

Zoellick will visit Sierra Leone before traveling to Cote d'Ivoire and then Ethiopia where the African Union (AU) Summit will take place.

A statement issued by the bank ahead of the trip said Zoellick noted that many sub-Saharan African countries had enjoyed a decade or more of solid growth before the economic crisis and it was important to preserve and expand on these gains by drawing investment to high growth areas.

"I am visiting Africa to learn about how its people have coped with the global economic crisis and to see how the World Bank Group can work with them to improve prospects for economic growth and expanded opportunity.

"Much of Africa has a solid record of economic growth, including in some of Africa's fragile states, and it has the potential to be another pole of growth for the world economy," Zoellick said.

He said a combination of policy and institutional reforms and external resources were urgently needed to help build capacity, generate economic opportunities in fragile states, and lay the foundation for stability and overcoming poverty.

During his trip, he will visit energy, agriculture and fishery projects that have benefited from World Bank support.

He will hold working sessions with representatives of other donor agencies; discuss ways of boosting World Bank support to governmental and civil society organizations promoting peace, transparency, accountability, and good governance.