PARIS, September 10, 2012 – The World Bank today released the following statement from World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, who spoke in Paris after meeting with French President François Hollande:
“Bonjour Mesdames, Messieurs les journalistes. C'est un grand plaisir pour moi d'être à Paris et plus particulièrement à l'Elysée.
Je viens d'avoir un entretien très fructueux et intéressant avec le Président Hollande.
Je ne vais pas vous imposer plus longtemps mon français approximatif et je prendrai avec plaisir vos questions en anglais. Je vous en remercie d'avance.
It is a particular honor and pleasure for me to be here today. France is a very important shareholder and partner for the World Bank Group.
We work together closely in a wide range of areas, including in the field. Our teams are working together on the ground to produce real results especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as North Africa and the Middle East.
Our cooperation and our relationship are strong across our common goals of fighting poverty and boosting prosperity, of sustainable development and inclusive growth.
We at the World Bank Group very much appreciate France’s intellectual contributions and leadership on development issues, from the Deauville Partnership for the countries of the Arab Spring, to food security.
France has been an important voice in pushing the World Bank Group to be as effective and efficient as we can be. With France’s strong support, we’re reforming and evolving to meet new challenges. We’re increasing our focus on achieving and measuring results; we’re enhancing our accountability to those we serve, and we’re increasing our openness – making our data and research freely available and learning from others.
I had very fruitful discussions with President Hollande across a range of our shared priorities.
We agreed on the importance of action to address the situation in the Sahel, which is of great concern to all of us.
But we also spoke of the opportunities that Africa presents, and how that potential can be unlocked through greater regional integration. Africa is growing and changing, and by working alongside Africans to invest in good governance and transformational infrastructure we can help to empower people with skills, opportunity and hope.
I discussed my recent trip to Africa with President Hollande. I chose to go to Africa for my first trip as President of the World Bank Group, and the first country I visited was Côte d’Ivoire. I met with President Ouattara, and I believe that Ivorians can build a peaceful and prosperous future. This is a moment of opportunity for change that the international community needs to support.
We also spoke of our common concern over continuing high and volatile food prices, and the continuing need for investment in increasing agricultural production and productivity if the world is to meet the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.
And we spoke of our shared interest in a strong and sustainable global economy, underpinned by transparency and good governance.
So it’s a great pleasure to be here early in my tenure and to have had the opportunity to listen and learn about the priorities and thinking of our important shareholder and partner.”