World Bank Establishes Representative Office in Capital
WASHINGTON, December 1, 2012 – The World Bank Group celebrated a number of firsts in Djibouti this week with the first visit by Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa to formalize the institution’s first permanent office in Djibouti which is being established and managed by Homa-Zahra Fotouhi as the first Resident Representative.
“Djibouti and the World Bank Group have enjoyed a 32-year partnership and I could not be more proud than to finally put our roots down here so we can work shoulder to shoulder in tackling the country’s development challenges,” said Andersen. “This signals the real measure of our commitment to support Djibouti and its Vision 2035.”
During her two-day visit, Andersen saw the Urban Poverty Reduction Program which has provided both community training and a vocational program with a 30 percent job placement success rate so far. The program focuses on the poorest citizens and provides key infrastructure such as roads, community centers and sports fields. She was accompanied throughout her visit by Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Country Director for Djibouti, Egypt and Yemen.
Andersen participated in a nutrition education session for mothers of children under the age of two in Hayableh, where she noted the vital importance of the fight against malnutrition: This Social Safety Net Project supports small labor-intensive works projects aimed at boosting household incomes and thus better nutrition.
Andersen congratulated the government on the consultation workshop held last month during which the Bank sought guidance for the development of its Country Partnership Strategy. Led by Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Minister of Economy and Finance, the workshop attracted the active participation of key government ministers for its two-day duration.
In a meeting with private sector representatives, Andersen committed to working with the Government to address constraints to private sector development and job creation. In discussions with development partners, she reiterated the Bank's commitment to strengthened coordination for greater impact of development programs and increased benefits for the population.
In meetings with ministers and counterparts, Andersen and her delegation discussed the development challenges facing Djibouti, and reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to supporting the country’s emerging development vision, Djibouti Vision 2035, which will lead to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. Among important topics discussed, was the Bank’s support to the exploration of the country’s geothermal potential.
Andersen urged the acceleration of the implementation of the four projects approved by the Bank on June 12, 2012 for a total of US $19.2 million. The projects support improved social safety nets for the poorest and most vulnerable citizens, better access to water and electricity, education reform and rural development.
These projects all have a focus on helping Djibouti recover from one of the worst droughts to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years. Fotouhi noted Djibouti’s vulnerability to a range of natural hazards, including multi-year droughts that create crippling water scarcity for both agricultural and domestic use. She said the World Bank was organizing a Risk Management Round-Table with the Government of Djibouti next April to consolidate the country’s risk management progress and continue building a national culture of disaster resilience.