PRESS RELEASE

World Bank President Reaffirms Close Partnership with Romania

May 10, 2013

President Kim’s First Official Visit Includes Meetings with Ponta, Basescu, Business Leaders, Civil Society, and Roma Representatives; He Calls for Inclusive Growth, Shared Prosperity

BUCHAREST, May 10, 2013 - World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today concluded a two-day visit to Romania, praising the country for its inclusive growth over the past two decades. He called on leaders to continue building a more competitive economy that benefits all parts of society, including the poorest.

The visit – his first to Romania -- was an opportunity for Kim to build on the World Bank Group’s two decade-long partnership with Romania. Kim pledged the support of the World Bank in helping to develop and implement a clear and innovative vision for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in Romania.

During his visit, Kim met with Romanian officials, including Prime Minister Victor Ponta and President Traian Băsescu, as well as business representatives, students, civil society, and Roma representatives.

 “I am extremely pleased to be in Romania to celebrate the country’s successes in economic growth during the last 20 years,” Kim said. “Looking ahead, Romania faces many critical challenges. As Romania strives for sustainable growth and to catch up with many of the EU countries on living standards, productivity, and competitiveness, the challenge will be to manage change, which is always difficult. In practice, this means building a more competitive, faster growing, and inclusive economy that benefits all the people of Romania.”

President Kim commended Romania for maintaining budget discipline during tough economic times. He was pleased to point out that, together with the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group helped with the macroeconomic stabilization of Romania through financial and technical assistance.

Kim also noted that the World Bank Group has been a strategic adviser to the Government in implementing the important reform agenda in Romania prior to and following EU accession. He offered the Bank’s continued support to the government on politically difficult reforms, which are needed to sustain growth and shared prosperity. In particular, he noted support for improvements in public administration and continuing and deepening reforms in health and education, where the World Bank is working closely with the Romanian authorities. Kim also discussed the World Bank’s forthcoming strategy for Romania that will cover the 2014-2018 period and will determine the Bank Group’s further engagement and contribution to the economic and social development of Romania.

On May 9th, Kim also met with Roma students from Romania, Bulgaria, FYR of Macedonia, Hungary, and Slovakia. He heard firsthand of the efforts to address the large gap in educational outcomes between the Roma and non-Roma in Europe, and the views of these young Roma on what it will take to improve overall living standards for this marginalized and vulnerable group, and empower them to become change agents in their own communities.

On May 10th, Kim visited the Roma community in Frumușani, Călărași county. During the visit, Kim talked to members of the community and heard about projects financed by the Government of Romania, the Roma Education Fund and the World Bank.

“The Bank stands ready to strengthen its collaboration with the other international partners in helping to address the needs of Roma people,” said Kim. “We need to provide adequate support to ensure inclusive growth and shared prosperity. The Roma people’s needs are huge in health, employment, education, and housing, but the benefits are huge as well for all of Romania.”

President Kim concluded the visit reaffirming the World Bank Group readiness to continue its partnership with Romania, and expressing the mutual interest in sharing knowledge to further inclusive growth and shared prosperity.

Media Contacts
In Bucharest

Daniel  Kozak
tel : +4021 2010 388

In Washington

Kristyn  Schrader-King
tel : +1-202-458-2736

For Broadcast Requests

Natalia  Cieslik
tel : (202) 458-9369

PRESS RELEASE NO:
2013/386/ECA