New World Bank leader visits Africa

Jim Yong Kim

The World Bank president will visit Cote d’Ivoire and then South Africa.

 

New World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, heads to Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa next week on his first trip to Africa.

Mr. Kim assumed the reins of the global development lender two months ago.

The visit comes at a time when African economies are among the fastest growing in the world, although their development is constrained by shortages of roads, ports, power supply, water and sanitation.

Despite high rates of growth, rising youth unemployment and inequality are a growing concern.

“Africa is truly taking off and I look forward to hearing directly from governments and people on the continent.

“I hope to discover how the Bank can help drive more inclusive development throughout Africa,” Mr. Kim said in a statement.

During his trip to the Cote d’Ivoire, starting on Tuesday, Mr. Kim will meet President Alassane Ouattara and his economic team. They have managed to turn around a stagnant economy within a year since the end of a civil war that claimed more than 3,000 lives. The government has launched several major infrastructure projects and restored security across most of the cocoa-growing country.

He will also visit an industrial park for small and medium-sized agribusinesses, which will highlight the push for more investment in agriculture amid increasing volatility in food prices.

On Thursday, the World Bank said global food prices has jumped 10 per cent in July as drought parched crop lands in the United States and in Eastern Europe. It urged governments to shore up programs to protect the poor.

The World Bank president will end his trip in South Africa where he will hold talks with South African President, Jacob Zuma, Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, as well as local entrepreneurs.

A wave of labour unrest and violence in South African mines has highlighted frustrations over rising poverty, inequality and stubbornly high unemployment.

“South Africa is a key factor of African growth and a leading voice for the African continent in the G-20 and other global forums.

“It is also an important driver for trade and investment,” said Mr. Kim, former president of the Ivy League college Dartmouth in New Hampshire.

Reuters/NAN


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