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Speeches & Transcripts

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim's Remarks at a Press Conference in Burkina Faso

November 7, 2013

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim Press Conference With Leaders from the United Nations, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, and the European Union Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


DR. KIM:  Thank you very much.  This is my first trip to the Sahel and my trip is ending today.

When you hear about the Sahel Region from the outside world, often all you hear is about drought and about malnutrition and, more recently, about extremism and conflict. 

I am departing the Sahel on my first trip full of hope and optimism.  We can, by working together, and especially the group that's here on this table--we can achieve much here with the leadership that we met on this trip.  I was extremely impressed by the leaders here in Burkina Faso -- the Prime Minister and  President Compaoré, who has been a leader in settling disputes.

But what was most impressive to me was the extremely high aspirations and the effectiveness in actually delivering for the people of Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso pays the highest rates in the world for energy, and despite the fact that these prices are so high, roads have been built, industries have been started, and basic services have been brought to people.

We pledged $1.5 billion in addition to our normal giving … for this Region, but that's just a start.  We have to go back and think again about a much larger scale of interventions so that the Sahel can be precisely what the people have told me they want, a place that is renowned for its culture, that's renowned for its resilience, that offers health, education, social protection to everyone, and that has a growing economy with jobs for everyone.  This is possible.  I am more convinced of it than I ever have been, and I take from this trip the sense of urgency that we need to move now to accomplish the things that the people of the Sahel so desperately want and, without question, deserve.

Thank you.