BAMAKO, December 14, 2010 – The President of the World Bank Group, Robert B. Zoellick, will arrive in Bamako, Mali on Saturday, December 18, 2010, at the start of a two-day visit aimed at showing support for Mali’s efforts to boost agricultural productivity. The trip is also aimed at promoting efforts to enhance food security, mitigate the impact of climate change, ensure sustainable management of water resources and diversify the economy from its over-dependence on natural resources in ways that accelerate growth and reduce poverty.
During his visit, Mr. Zoellick will meet with Malian officials, the country’s development partners and investors, as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society, “on the best ways of promoting Mali’s economic competitiveness as Africa seeks to realize its potential as a global growth pole”, said Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank Resident Representative for Mali.
The trip, he added, also offers an opportunity to reiterate World Bank support for Mali’s efforts to promote competitiveness and diversification, notably by fostering private sector-led growth.
Mr. Zoellick will be accompanied during the visit by the World Bank Vice President for the Africa region, Ms. Obiageli K. Ezekwesili.
Mali’s development potential is widely recognized, but its promise to create and sustain jobs and poverty reduction cannot be realized unless the country’s agricultural, mining and other sectors are modernized, transformed and diversified. The country’s land-locked position has made transport costs one of the most expensive input for companies operating in a country where power costs are also extremely high.
Mali joined the World Bank on September 23, 1963. So far, the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, has committed US$2.5 billion for a total 111 projects. As of June 30, 2010, the World Bank portfolio in Mali totals US$780 million for 18 projects, eight of which promote regional integration.