Washington, April 29, 2011 – World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick is visiting Tunisia and Morocco from May 2 – 6 with a special focus on how to support Tunisia during its political transition and to find out how economic and governance reforms can create jobs and opportunity in both countries.
Zoellick will meet civil society representatives in both countries to learn about the new importance of social accountability and how civil society can play a role in helping citizens influence what they can get from economic development and gain better access to opportunities. Zoellick’s visit to Tunisia follows the transitional government’s announcement of a short-term program of reforms focusing on governance, employment and regional development, the financial sector and social policies.
“The Tunisian people rightly want a bigger say in their future, and I look forward to listening to their ideas on creating more opportunity, justice, and jobs,” said Zoellick. “The transitional government wants to increase equity, transparency, voice and accountability, and the World Bank can support the Tunisian people in their efforts to achieve these reforms. We want to help Tunisians at this turning point in their history.”
In addition to meeting with officials in the transitional government, Zoellick will visit a rural municipality and one of the poorest areas in the country to meet farmer associations and women’s groups. An important flashpoint in Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution was the neglected parts of the countryside where development had not reached fast enough and where jobs and livelihoods have been a frustrating challenge for communities.
“We are especially interested to see where we can help the most disadvantaged regions of Tunisia,” said Zoellick. “Modernization and opportunity should not just be on offer in Tunisia’s Mediterranean cities but also extend to the interior of the country.”
In Morocco, the World Bank president will attend the Deuxiemes Assises de l’Industrie, the country’s major industry conference, to discuss economic and governance reforms and how they contribute to development. He will also meet the drivers of Morocco’s ambitious solar energy plans that could soon make the country the largest solar power producer in North Africa and the Middle East and an important producer of solar equipment.
“Morocco has over the past decade pursued significant economic and governance reforms, and it is important that this momentum persists so that opportunity is provided to its disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens,” said Zoellick. “I am looking forward to meeting with Morocco’s leaders in both government and the private sector to discuss how the World Bank can further support the country’s efforts to modernize its economy and create more opportunity and inclusive growth for all citizens.”