WASHINGTON, May 28, 2014 — World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, will visit Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Jordan from June 1-4, to focus on the challenges and opportunities facing the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and underscore the Bank’s commitment and support. This will be Kim’s first visit to the three countries since taking over as president of the World Bank Group in July 2012.
“The Middle East today is at a crossroads,” Kim said. “In one scenario, the political crises, violent conflict and deteriorating economic conditions of the last three years could deepen and possibly spread to neighboring countries. But we must commit to another more optimistic scenario for the region to realize its potential for sustained growth."
Kim continued, "The World Bank’s strategy in this region is to work with its partners to build on the foundation of co-existence, good governance, and inclusive economic growth."
During his four-day visit Kim will meet with heads of state, government leaders as well as private sector and civil society representatives to discuss how the World Bank Group can best continue supporting countries in the MENA region to promote sustainable growth and shared prosperity. Discussions will also revolve around fragility, building regional resilience and cementing partnerships to address cross border political and economic shocks through strengthening the capacity of cities, towns and local communities.
In Saudi Arabia, Kim will discuss the key role partnerships play in the region. The meetings with government officials and the Islamic Development Bank will focus on economic cooperation for development in the region and the importance of cooperation between the World Bank Group and Arab bilateral and multilateral partners.
In Lebanon and Jordan, Kim will reiterate the Bank’s commitment to support both countries in mitigating the impact of Syrian refugees on the economy, education and basic services. Discussions will also address long term development agenda and the Bank’s sustained engagement through various instruments to promote reforms for growth and fiscal sustainability. The World Bank President is scheduled to make field visits and hold meetings with the political leadership of the two countries, as well as with representatives from the United Nations, civil society organizations, the private sector, and the media.
Kim will deliver a regional keynote address in Beirut targeting MENA youth. The speech will be carried live on www.live.worldbank.org and a live signal will be available for regional broadcasters.
Kim will be accompanied on the trip by Inger Andersen, World Bank Regional Vice President for MENA and Mouayed Makhlouf, International Finance Corporation’s Regional Director for MENA.
The World Bank Group’s (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA) active portfolio in the MENA region, currently at US$16 billion, has been growing steadily over the last few years. New World Bank Group commitments for fiscal year 2014 are close to US$5 billion.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and ifc.org.