WASHINGTON, January 29. 2012—World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick will visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority from January 30 to February 1 to discuss development issues with officials and to participate in a leading policy forum on challenges facing the Middle East and the world.
Making his first visit as World Bank president to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Zoellick will meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as other officials. He will participate in the annual Herzliya Conference with a discussion moderated on January 31 by Die Zeit publisher-editor Josef Joffe on “The Future of the Global Economy”.
“With the World Bank Group’s deep engagement with the Middle East and North Africa, I am looking forward to visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find out more about development challenges,” said Zoellick. “I want to see what more the World Bank can do to support Palestinians in their efforts to overcome poverty and to further cooperation in development expertise with our Israeli partners.”
The World Bank supports Palestinian Authority through the Trust Fund for Gaza and West Bank (TFGWB) that was established in 1993. The trust fund is periodically replenished through allocations from the World Bank’s surplus/net income. To date, the World Bank has invested more than $900 million. A significant portion of Bank assistance is designed to support the Palestinian Authority as it implements its reform program, by supporting actions in two policy areas: strengthening the fiscal position and improving public financial management. The Bank portfolio currently consists of 17 investment grants (with commitments of $217 million) supporting education, energy, municipal development, water, solid waste management, social protection and non-governmental organizations.
Israel is a shareholder of the World Bank, and a regular donor to the International Development Association, the Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest 79 countries. It is also a partner with the Bank in improving development expertise. Over the past year, Bank staff and Israeli experts have organized many knowledge-sharing meetings and workshops to explore more detailed ways to work together in the areas of water, information and communications technology, agriculture, and green infrastructure in Africa and the Middle East.