BEIRUT: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim is set to visit Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the Middle East and North Africa.
A statement by the World Bank Group said the visit, the first to the three countries since taking over as president of the World Bank Group in July 2012, is scheduled for June 1-4.
It said Kim would underscore the bank’s commitment and support for the region.
“The Middle East today is at a crossroads,” the statement quoted Kim as saying. “In one scenario, the political crises, violent conflict and deteriorating economic conditions of the last three years could deepen and possibly spread to neighboring countries. But we must commit to another more optimistic scenario for the region to realize its potential for sustained growth."
He said the World Bank’s strategy in MENA was to “work with its partners to build on the foundation of co-existence, good governance, and inclusive economic growth."
During his four-day visit, Kim will meet with heads of state and government leaders as well as private sector and civil society representatives to discuss how the World Bank Group can best continue supporting countries in the MENA region to promote sustainable growth and shared prosperity.
The statement said discussions would revolve around fragility, building regional resilience and cementing partnerships to address cross border political and economic shocks through strengthening the capacity of cities, towns and local communities.
In Saudi Arabia, Kim will discuss the key role partnerships play in the region, in addition to economic cooperation.
In Lebanon and Jordan, Kim will reiterate the bank’s commitment to support both countries in mitigating the impact of Syrian refugees on the economy, education and basic services.