Speeches & Transcripts

Remarks by Country Manager Tony Thompson at the Ministerial Road Transport Summit 2015

September 18, 2015

Tony Thompson, Country Manager for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia Ministerial Road Transport Summit 2015 Varna, Bulgaria

As Prepared for Delivery

Dear Deputy Prime Minister,

Esteemed Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome!

Thank you for accepting the invitation of the World Bank and Bulgarian Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works to join this Road Transport High Level Summit. It’s clear from yesterday’s evening that we all are sharing same concerns and similar challenges and so this event has already demonstrated its value by bringing all us together.

Let’s talk about roads. Let’s also make sure that we don’t only talk about roads but we also commit and make sure things change in terms of building and maintaining infrastructure in this part of the world.

There is this model of change known as VIM, where V stands for vision, I for intention, and M for means.

You need all three for change to happen. If any of them are missing nothing happens. What brings us together today is that everybody in this room has a vision for infrastructure and a modern roads network covering all of South Eastern Europe.

Some of the countries here have taken decisions committing to investing and making that vision a reality, and here I would like to congratulate Minister Pavlova for the decision of Bulgaria’s Council of Minister’s decision on Wednesday to approve the new roads strategy for Bulgaria that would see the entire highway network build out by 2020 together with more systematic maintenance and rehabilitation of the existing network.

But much of what we are going to talk about today and tomorrow is not just about the vision, it’s not just about the intention, it is also about the means to achieve the vision. How do we finance, how do we prioritize investments so that we turn the vision into a practical reality that benefits all of our citizens.

Being WB Country Manager for Bulgaria, I am excited that Bulgaria will be sharing what it has been doing, but I am also looking forward to listening and learning from everybody else both the experts that have kindly joined us as well as our colleagues from other countries. I see this event as a best practice in terms of listening and learning from each other so we can all move forward faster and more effectively together in turning the vision of a modern road network for South East Europe into reality.