Africa a Top Priority Says World Bank

Africa has 6 of the world’s fastest growing economies

Africa is top priority for the World Bank, the group’s new president Jim Yong Kim said in Tshwane on Thursday.

“I’ve worked in Africa. Africa is one of my absolute top priorities,” he told reporters.

“You can rest assured that on every level I am deeply committed to the growth and success of Africa.”

Kim’s visit to South Africa and the Ivory Coast was his first trip abroad in his World Bank capacity.

He earlier met President Jacob Zuma and eight ministers and deputy ministers, and said he was impressed with the level of analysis the ministers had offered.

“We had long and intense discussions about how to improve implementation and delivery,” he said, adding that this was a problem for every country in the world.

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said recent unrest in the platinum sector would not affect growth “in any significant way”.

“It’s important that we communicate to the world that South Africa is still hard at work and that most of it is highly productive.”

Gordhan was referring to events at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, in which 44 people were killed last month, 34 of them by police on August 16.

He welcomed Kim to South Africa, and said the government supported his stance to eradicate poverty and develop inclusive growth across the world.

“We are both quite happy to be described as activists,” he said.

A country strategy for South Africa would be initiated with the World Bank, and would look particularly at economic development in townships and at service delivery.

“The World Bank Group can play a vital role as a catalyst for the development and financing of infrastructure,” Zuma said in a statement.

Private investors would draw comfort from the World Bank’s anchor role in developing infrastructure projects, he said.