WASHINGTON and NAIROBI, February 14, 2014 — The following statement was made by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim:
"The World Bank Group’s mission is to end extreme poverty and build shared prosperity among the bottom 40 percent of society. That means we work with governments, companies, and civil society to create conditions for inclusive growth that benefits the poor. We are doing all in our power to help the poor create better lives for themselves.
"In this context, we are alarmed by reports of recently evicted families in the Embobut Forest and Cherangany Hills areas of Kenya. We understand that underlying this issue is a critical effort to protect watersheds in Kenya’s forest and hill areas. However, we strongly encourage the Kenyan authorities to thoroughly investigate claims made by civil society, including the affected communities, that the evictions are not following the legal process.
"The World Bank is not involved in the reported evictions, nor has the Bank financed or supported these actions. Nevertheless, we are not bystanders.
"The World Bank Group works closely with the Government of Kenya to support its efforts to improve the lives of all Kenyans. On that basis, we will intensify discussions with all parties involved, including the Government and civil society. Far too often, the voices of the poor and disenfranchised around the world are not heard. The cases of the people in the affected communities in Kenya should be urgently evaluated in a fair and transparent manner."