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Development Equity Critical for Continuing Progress Fighting Poverty

May 13, 2011

MAPUTO, May 13, 2011 – On a trip to Mozambique, World Bank Director for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management for the Africa Region Marcelo Giugale underscored the need to extend opportunities to everyone in poverty-fighting efforts.

“The world is slowly but steadily winning the battle against poverty, but it’s essential that we don’t lose the battle against inequality,” said Giugale during a seminar jointly organized with a local think tank on the second day of his visit. “As developing nations grow faster, we need to ensure that growth is inclusive by creating greater equality of opportunities, especially for younger generations. Inequality polarizes politics; create instability that can undo hardly-won development gains.”

Giugale added that the concept of equality of opportunities can help usher in a new social policy agenda. He then walked the 200 plus participants through the Human Opportunity Index that provides a measuring tool for the concept, and which can be used as a roadmap by developing countries as they face the difficult choice of deciding where to invest extra dollars more strategically.

The stop in Mozambique from May 11 – 14 was part of a three-country trip that included South Africa and Mauritius. While in Mozambique, Giugale met with Prime Minister Aires Ali, government officials, and development partners.

Giugale’s stay also included field visits to a training center that specializes in electrical engineering and provides tailored capacity building programs to workers of multinationals operating in Mozambique such as the BHP Billiton aluminum smelter Mozal, the Brazilian Vale, and the South African petrochem ical Sasol, three of the largest post-independence investments in Mozambique that are worth billions of US dollars. Giugale also visited micro businesses led by women in the outskirts of Maputo, micro enterprises of urban trash collectors, successful public-private-partnerships, and a wholesale market.

Giugale wrapped up the visit with a one-on-one interview with a local journalist from a local radio, television and newspaper media group in which he gave his overall impressions of the visit and further elaborated on the themes of his talk.