World Bank boss tours Africa


World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick begins a three-nation African tour today.

His eight-day visit would help focus attention on African governments, development partners and private investors on the need to seize the opportunity for renewed momentum in economic growth to overcome poverty.

Zoellick will start his tour in Sierra Leone after which he will be travelling to Ivory Coast and finally in Ethiopia where he is expected to take part in the African Union (AU) Summit slated for January 31st to February 2nd 2010 in Addis Ababa.

A news release issued in Lusaka by the World Bank said although hit by the global food, fuel and financial crises, African governments have persisted in strengthening their economic policies as they pursue development, or rebuild after conflict.

Ahead of the trip, Zoellick noted that many Sub-Saharan African countries have enjoyed a decade or more of solid growth before the crisis and it was important to preserve and expand on these gains by drawing investment to high growth areas.

Zoellick said he is 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.

The World Bank President is also expected to host a working breakfast forum on the sidelines of the AU Summit jointly with African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka at which a number of African Leaders would discuss the transformative impact that information and communications technologies (ICTs) could have on the Continent.

He said, “skeptics wondered whether Africa was ready for a revolution in telecommunications. But African entrepreneurs, with the help of supportive government policies, changed the facts on the ground”.

Pic: World Bank