The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Mr. Makhtar Diop, met on Thursday (Feb. 26) with key Italian stakeholders in international development at the World Bank office in Rome. Speaking to an audience of representatives from NGOs, government institutions, think tanks, and the private sector, Mr. Diop provided an overview of the Bank’s strategy for Africa, focusing in particular on boosting access to clean and affordable electricity, and investment in agriculture to boost productivity, food security, resilience to climate change, and employment. Italy’s vast experience in agricultural productivity and commercialization is widely recognized. The discussion also touched on topics such as access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, trends in urbanization and the need for improved housing construction standards and smart cities; and how job creation – in both energy and agriculture – can improve living conditions in both urban and rural areas and help stem the “push factors” underlying migration trends. In addressing climate change, Mr. Diop noted the Africa Climate Business Plan that was launched at CoP21 in Paris, and urged common action to address climate resilience and promote a clean energy revolution based on Africa’s abundant solar, wind, and geothermal resources.
Mr. Diop reaffirmed the important role of partnerships with the public and private sectors and civil society, including parliamentarians and faith-based organizations. He welcomed the opportunity to deepen the engagement with the Italian development cooperation community, tapping their experience to help speed up the structural transformation of African economies.
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