World Bank Group President, Robert Zoellick, today informed the bank’s board of his intention to step down at the end of his five-year tenure in June.
Mr. Zoellick said he would be leaving the group as a fulfilled man having utilized the bank’s platform to play a historic role during the global economic crisis by providing more than $247billion to support the development of infrastructure, the private sector, agriculture, trade finance, social safety nets, education, health, and the environment in developing countries to boost growth and overcome poverty.
With over $90 billion of the new capital from developing countries raised for International Development Association (IDA), he said this is the first general capital increase for the Bank in over 20 years for the poorest nations against the backdrop of challenging donor austerity.
He said the group’s agriculture lending increased to $6billion per year, in a bid to alert the world on the forthcoming food crisis, as well as help marshal new resources and tools to address it, adding that a new private sector Asset Management Company was set up in his time to channel about $3billion sovereign wealth funds and pension resources to the private sector in Africa and other emerging markets.
“I’m honored to have led such a world class institution with so many talented and exceptional people,” he said.
“Together we have focused on supporting developing countries to navigate crises and adjust to global economic shifts. The Bank has recognized that we live in a world of multiple poles of growth where traditional concepts of the “Third World” are now outdated and where developing countries have a key role to play as growth drivers and responsible stakeholders.
“At the same time, we’ve scaled up our support to poor people, countries, and communities and shown that the Bank can be an indispensable innovator, catalyst, and driver of a modernized multilateralism,” Mr. Zoellick said.
“I’m very pleased that when the world needed the Bank to step up, our shareholders responded with expanded resources and support for key reforms that made us quicker, more effective and more open,” he added.
“The Bank is now strong, healthy and well positioned for new challenges, and so it is a natural time for me to move on and support new leadership”, he said.
Mr. Zoellick said that until June 30, he would stay fully focused on being Bank President and will continue to drive policy and programmes at a heightened tempo.
In April 2011, the World Bank’s Board approved a Presidential selection process.