Speeches & Transcripts

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim at a Joint Press Conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Goma, DRC

May 23, 2013

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim Joint Press Conference with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Goma, Congo, Democratic Republic of


DR. KIM:  It's a great honor for me to be here in Goma.  I am a medical doctor and I have worked in areas just like this for most of my adult life, addressing to the need of people without health care, without access to education.  I come here today under the leadership of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and in honor of his leadership in bringing about the framework agreement, we have, in addition to the $1.3 billion that will be given directly to the Democratic Republic of the Congo for various projects, we bring an additional $1 billion for the development of the region.

The focus, of course, is all the things that we think are at the root of the conflict.  Lack of energy means that the private sector doesn't invest and that there are no jobs, the lack of health care, the lack of education, the lack of trade across borders so that people can run their businesses.  We know that those are at the core of what causes conflict.  So, we're very happy to be able to make this additional commitment to the entire region.

Today, I was very moved to see the great work that Dr. Lucy and his team are doing at Heal Africa Hospital.

You know, my experience throughout my life has been that, looking at the world through the eyes of the forgotten, the eyes of those who suffer most is often the most poignant and clear way of seeing what's happening in a society.

So, seeing the women who were victims of rape and torture, who develop fistulas as a result, was a very bracing moment for me, and what it taught me is that, in addition to bringing about peace and security, in addition to trying to bring development, we have to think about long-term, real justice to these women, and it will mean that they will get treatment.  It will mean that they will be handled fairly by the justice system.  In the long run, it will mean that they will have access to education, health care, and a good job.  I am here today to say that, under the leadership of the Secretary-General, we in the World Bank Group are recommitting ourselves to those women and to the work that we can do together here with the UN system.

You know, I've heard about the situation in this region for a very long time.  I've worked in countries in this region, but to see it in the form of the women lying in the beds of the hospital was different for me, and it made me understand that bringing peace, security, and development is an even more urgent task than I even understood before I came here, because for those women at that hospital, they want the rapes to stop now, they want health care now, they want education for their children now.  They can't wait for some sort of deliberative process to go forward.

The Secretary-General has pledged to bring troops.  We are bringing $1 billion extra dollars and we just want everyone to know, the people who are trying to help, the people who are trying to bring about development and peace, we say we are with you.  And for those who are committing the rapes, for those who are killing others, we're here to say that you must stop now, and that the combined force of the United Nations, the World Bank, and all the good people who are trying to bring about peace, we will do everything we can to stop you. Thank you.


[Questions asked in French.]

DR. KIM:  Thank you.

The funds, the additional one billion is for the entire region, but we think that the funds will have a very direct impact on the people of North Kivu Province.  The major investments that we're making are in energy, and we know that there's a desperate need for energy throughout this province, and so we're investing hydroelectric power, and especially focused on ensuring access to energy for all the people.

We're focusing on trade.  One of the most difficult issues is that there are things to be traded and sold across borders, but the barriers to trade are very high in this region and they shouldn’t be.

We're also investing in public health laboratories, investing in education. 

And so, our sense is the impact will be very direct on the poorest, but that's our mission, ending poverty, boosting shared prosperity is fundamental to our mission.

And in terms of being able to follow the money, we are very confident that the money will actually get to the source.  There are some countries in which we give money just directly to the budgets of governments.  We do not do that here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  We follow the money directly into project areas, and our own auditing system--we audit every single project that we have, and our experience has been that, even in places that are actively in war, places like Afghanistan, we have been very good at being able to follow project money directly to the source.  So, we're very confident in terms of that.

I think the other question was really for the Secretary-General, but let me just say that what we are trying to do is, instead of waiting until we see whether the peace framework actually works, what we're doing is something truly unique, in the sense that while the peace framework is still in the early stages, while the intervention brigade are even not quite here, we're moving in aggressively and saying, "More money needs to go into development so that people can have jobs, health care, access to education, and hope," in hopes that that would decrease the likelihood of continuing conflict.