DR. KIM: I want to thank President Ouattara for inviting me to Cote d’Ivoire.
It’s my very first visit to any country, as President of the World Bank, and I’m here because I have great hope for this country and I also want to say that Cote d’Ivoire will achieve great things.
All around me today I could see the dividends of peace and I want to congratulate everyone in this country for being committed to a peaceful path forward.
What we know is that with peace there can be rapid economic growth. Conflicts cause all kinds of problems for economies that are aspiring to be more prosperous.
Today I had very good meetings with a group of young people who were being trained in a World Bank supported program, and I met with some very articulate women leaders of Cote d’Ivoire.
I was inspired by all of them and what was made clear to me, and also from them, but also what is clear based on evidence from the World Bank, has collected for years, is that in order for a country to have sustainable growth it must include women and especially must include young people - especially jobs for young people.
I learned that today directly from Ivorians. It’s something of course the evidence says...[unintelligible]... very strongly.
The economy of Cote d’Ivoire makes up 40 percent of West Africa. This country and its success is important, not only to Cote d’Ivoire, it’s important to the region and to the entire continent of Africa.
For that reason I’m here to express my strong strong support for the country, its people, the leadership.
We need Cote d’Ivoire to be successful and as long as Cote d’Ivoirians choose peace and continue to make efforts in education, to continue to move forward with an agenda with women, we are certain that Cote d’Ivoire will have great success in the future.
Finally I simply want to thank everyone in Cote d’Ivoire for the very warm welcome. I felt very much welcomed here.
I was very encouraged to see all the wonderful things happening here, and I pledge to all, to the President and the Cabinet and everyone I met that the World Bank is here, we’re going to be your partners and we are going to rejoice in watching this country achieve great things in the future.