- The World Bank President, Robert Zoellick has affirmed that despite setbacks to Africa’s steady progress as a result of the financial crisis, this could be a century of African opportunity and growth.
Mr Zoellick said this following his three-nation African tour last week. “We need multiple poles of growth and that will make for a more balanced international economy; and there’s no reason Africa can’t be one of those poles,” Zoellick told journalists in Entebbe, Uganda at the end of his trip.
The six-day trip took Mr Zoellick to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda was an opportunity to see first-hand the impact of the financial crisis on Africa, assess progress on post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction, and explore ways to stimulate investment and donor support to help the continent weather the crisis in anticipation of the Group of Twenty (G20) meeting in Pittsburgh, next month.
The World Bank president also wanted to assess the region’s infrastructure needs, spotlight the importance of regional integration, and better understand opportunities for enhancing agricultural productivity and food security which have recently been placed high on the agenda of the Group of Eight (G8).
Amongst the areas he said African governments should give serious attention, Mr Zoellick said bankable infrastructure projects should be drawn while African government should also tap into the basket made available by the richer nations for low carbon programmes.
He also said agriculture presented huge opportunities for the continent, saying African countries should utilise the technologies available to produce more in order to boost food security as well as incomes for many of the continent’s poor farmers.
In the meetings he had with senior government officials, Mr Zoellick also wanted to know how the World Bank could help in the fight against corruption, and help modernise and reform the public sector to get more effective service delivery, and create budgetary resources for infrastructure investments needed to address the economy’s binding constraints.
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