Speeches & Transcripts

Transcript of World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim

September 5, 2012

World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim Press Conference Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire


Dr. Kim: We are ready? Thank you very much everybody. I’m very pleased to have visited Cote d'Ivoire, I came here to listen and we had wonderful meetings where I learned a great deal. I learned in great detail about the conflict that the country has endured and I have come away with a sense of optimism. We believe in this country, we believe in the people and we believe in your leadership. President Ouattara is a wonderful leader.

In my meeting with young people I learned that young people want training and education and they want jobs. More importantly what they told me was that one ex-combatant said that we need training and we need jobs so that we can turn our backs on conflict and it’s important and I want to say this to all the Ivorian people, we must commit to turning our backs on conflict.

I was also very inspired in my meeting with some of the women leaders of Cote d'Ivoire. What I’ve learned from them is that Cote d'Ivoire will not be able to go down a path of sustainable development if women are not at the center.

I also just came from Agropark where we saw just how successful and impactful public private cooperation can be. We know that the government has a critical role to play but we also know that the private sector must flourish here in Cote d'Ivoire to create the jobs, to create the opportunities.

I was so encouraged by what I saw on this visit that I’d like to announce today that very soon in the future we are going to have one of our most important meetings of the World Bank. This is a meeting to talk about our fund for the poorest countries and we will have it right here in Abidjan and it’s the first time that this meeting has ever happened in Africa.

I’d be happy to take your questions.

Dr. Kim: We have one question in English.

Translator: Ok go ahead.

Reporter: Good morning sir. My name is ….I work for the News Agency of Nigeria. Quickly I know that your predecessor Robert Zoellick was so concerned about aid to Africa and he always talked about the effectiveness of aid, not just aid. Now I want to know what you’re doing in this direction? Of trying effective aid that can be cultured in [g] development [g]. Also I know there was also the issue of voice for developing countries in terms of rules in the World Bank. I want to know how much concern do you have [g] for seeing the same vision of Robert Zoellick in this structure [g]. Thank you.

Dr. Kim: Thank you for your question. Let me say that aid effectiveness is critical to the World Bank. It involves good governance, it involves effective implementation of projects and as someone who has worked in development for most of my adult life, aid effectiveness simply means greater benefits for the poorest people. I embrace this fully and congratulate President Zoellick for having emphasized this issue so robustly. The other issue on voice, this is a very complicated discussion in one that the Governors of the World Bank will take up very soon in the next few years. There is no way that the Bank can be successful without a strong voice of African countries and other developing countries. We know that to be the case and so this discussion which is one that all of the Governors have to participate in is one in which we’ll emphasize the importance of Africa and the importance of other developing countries to the World Bank.

Reporter: [off mic, in French].

Dr. Kim: My discussion with the authorities focused mostly on development issues but let me emphasize that in my view there is no way that we can build a sustainable peace without dialogue between all of the parties. This is an ethnically diverse country and I think that’s one of its strengths, it draws strengths from its diversity and the conversation should include all the parties.

Reporter: [off mic, in French].

Dr. Kim: Yes I wasn’t able to do all of the visits that had originally been planned because of time constraints but the next time I come I look forward to visiting those areas.

Reporter: [off mic, in French].

Dr. Kim: We are enormously encouraged by the bold vision of the President, double digit growth by 2014 and an emerging economy by 2020. There are some very clear, there are some things that I have learned here that are very important.

Cote d'Ivoire is 40 percent of the West African economy. Cote d'Ivoire had made tremendous gains, had research facilities, the greatest universities and much of the achievements of the previous decades was wiped out by the conflict of the last few decades.

There is a tremendous economic growth dividend with peace and there is also a tremendous cost with conflict, we think that if the country takes the path that it’s going now and we as development partners cooperate and support the country going forward we think those goals are attainable but only if the people of Cote d'Ivoire turn their backs on conflict.

Thank you very much everybody and I want to especially thank all the Ivorian people for their warm welcome of me and my team.