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Paul Wolfowitz's Presidency

Paul Wolfowitz
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Paul Wolfowitz interacting with children at the Zannuwa Primary school, Bauchi, Nigeria. Photographer: Caroline Vagneron

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As the tenth President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz placed the poorest people of Africa at the forefront of his agenda. On his frequent visits to the region during his tenure, he stressed that Africa could fulfill its promise as a "continent of hope", if the international community supported African leaders in confronting key development challenges.

By focusing the World Bank on those development challenges—good governance, effective safeguards against corruption, sound infrastructure, greater trade opportunities, and protection of the environment—he ensured the Bank would be a strong ally for Africa and for all developing countries. He also recognized the importance of the Bank to improve its own performance in support of the poorest countries, by putting an emphasis on results.

He worked with the world’s leading economies to secure an agreement for one hundred percent debt relief for the world’s most indebted nations. He also introduced a strengthened governance and anti-corruption policy at the Bank after a consultation process that gathered advice and opinions from thousands of experts and representatives of civil society, parliaments and the private sector in dozens of countries.

The Children's Voices
PW in MexicoIridiana recites a poem, describing her hope and dream to escape poverty |  Poem 

Tanzania ChoirTanzanian children raise awareness about corruption through singing | English| Swahili| Website

IDA at Work: IDA has helped build some 60,000 km of rural roads linking over 60m people.


Interview with the Financial Times

Interview with Charlie Rose

Interview with Clare Bolderson, BBC World Service Radio

Key Speeches
Washington Legislators Forum on Climate Change
Liberia Partner's Forum

Lebanon Donors Conference – Paris III

Americans "need to do better" on development assistance, especially for Africa

Timeline of Major Events:

Four Pillars for Stronger Education – May 2, 2007
The world has seen progress in getting children to school over recent years, Mr. Wolfowitz told an education conference in
Brussels, but the international community can reach the tens of millions of children out of school, or receiving sub-standard education, by delivering more aid, of better quality, faster and for longer periods.

Strengthening Health Systems – May 1, 2007
Drug and medical equipment alone aren’t enough to save lives. Poor people in developing countries also need enough health care workers and health insurance, and medicine must be stored properly and treatment administered correctly. The World Bank Group’s new health strategy emphasizes a strengthening health system that addresses all health-related challenges.

Financial Sector Strategy  - April 19, 2007 
In recent years, globalization and the liberalization of financial markets have accelerated the growth of private financial markets--underscoring the need for sound policies and institutions in both middle-income and low-income countries. In response to this changing global environment, the World Bank Group launched a new financial sector strategy that aims to provide governments with a new, flexible model for financial and advisory support, and ensure IFC's growing financial sector investment portfolio contributes to a country's long-term growth and development.

Recovering Stolen Assets – April 14, 2007
At the Spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF, Mr. Wolfowitz announced the creation of the Stolen Assets Recovery initiative, or StAR, through which the Bank will work with the UN and other agencies to help developing countries recover looted assets.

Supporting African Leadership – March 27, 2007
Many African leaders are turning their back on the turbulent past, encouraged by the success of countries like Ghana, Mr. Wolfowitz told the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, adding that the Bank will strive to help these countries by delivering aid more swiftly through a Rapid Response Policy.

Board Endorses Governance Strategy – March 20, 2007
One of the biggest threats to development is weak governance and corruption, draining resources that would otherwise be used to build health clinics and put books in schools. Less than a yearafter Mr. Wolfowitz outlined his vision for a three-pronged plan to fight corruption, a Governance and Anticorruption Strategy was presented to, and approved by, the Board.
The Bank’s issue brief on Governance and Anti-Corruption]

Forging Partnerships to Fight Climate Change – March 13, 2007
The world needs to find a more climate-friendly path to development given compelling evidence that the use of fossil fuels is harming the environment, Mr. Wolfowitz told a conference in
London. If governments, the private sector, and international development institutions work together, they can turn the emerging global consensus on climate change into concrete action. The World Bank can fund innovation and find solutions, he said.

Rapid Response Policy  – March 5, 2007
War-torn countries taking their first steps toward peace confront the daunting—and expensive—challenge of rebuilding demolished infrastructure to bring water, electricity, and other basic services to their people. In early 2007, under Mr. Wolfowitz’s leadership, the Bank launched the Rapid Response Policy. Under this policy, procedures are simplified so that countries in transition to peace, and people whose lives have been destroyed, can get the funding they need within weeks—not months later.

Liberia’s Long Path to Hope – February 13, 2007
Addressing donors to Liberia, Mr. Wolfowitz pledged speedy support from the World Bank as the country makes it shift from decades of civil war to democracy. He hailed the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa ’s first woman leader, and called donors to coordinate and accelerate their support to cement the country’s hard-won gains.

Backing Lebanon’s Development – January 25, 2007
At a donor’s conference for Lebanon in Paris, Mr. Wolfowitz pledged $70 million in grants directly from World Bank income, an unprecedented move, and a further $700 million in funding from the IBRD, with $400 million available in 2007, to help the government regain the economic initiative stalled by renewed conflict in the area.

White House Summit on Malaria  – December 14, 2006
Every day, 3,000 people die from malaria. The ones who don’t may miss as much as four weeks of school or work a year. This is both a tragedy and a tremendous drain to ’s economy, Mr. Wolfowitz said. The Bank’s Malaria Booster program, created 15 months earlier, had committed $357 million to fighting malaria in 10 countries, he announced.

Why Africa Matters to Americans – December 10, 2006
While US foreign aid tripled over the past six years, Africa’s needs are acute and need stronger support, Mr. Wolfowitz said in Atlanta, Georgia. Securing that aid means dispelling several myths that hamper public support for increased aid to Africa and emphasizing that aid can, and is, being used well amid signs of strengthened local leadership.

Clean Energy Investment Framework – September 24, 2005
The development community has increasingly emphasized the importance of promoting economic growth in a way that leaves a smaller environmental footprint. The G8 asked the World Bank to work on an Investment Framework for Clean Energy and Sustainable Development. The framework is meant to support investment and innovation in clean energy technologies.
September 24 2005 Press Release]
April 19 2007 Press Release: Finance Ministers Generally Endorse Clean Energy plan]

Africa: The Road to Opportunity – October 18, 2006
Too many Africans are blocked from the path out of poverty by lack of education and infrastructure or by disease. And regulations choke businesses so they cannot create new jobs, Mr. Wolfowitz said in Paris at the Institut français des relations internationals (IFRI). Promising trends in Africa, including attempts to stop corruption, should be responded to with more aid and by reaching a Doha agreement that will take the needs of the poor into account.

Path to Prosperity – September 19, 2006
At the World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Singapore, Mr. Wolfowitz highlighted the island nation’s own emergence as a prosperous nation in the four decades after its independence. Singapore's remarkable progress has been emulated by many other countries in East Asia and around the world, he said. In the past 25 years, 400 million people worldwide have escaped extreme poverty, making this the most successful quarter century in the history of the fight against poverty.

Doing Business 2007: How to Reform – September 6, 2006
Excessive regulations stop businesses before they start. But more than 100 countries—including two-thirds of African countries—implemented policy reforms within a year that make it easier to start and expand businesses. Doing Business 2007, the fourth in a series of annual reports that rank countries based on the ease of doing business, focused on how successful countries were able to reform and the lessons that can be learned from their efforts. The top reforming country in the 2007 report was Georgia.

Unlocking the Private Sector Potential in Africa – July 18, 2006
With signs of new African leadership emerging, there is an urgent need to translate new hope into results for Africa’s poorest citizens, Mr. Wolfowitz told the Sullivan Foundation Summit in Nigeria. Of critical importance are good policies that give the private sector, private business, and private individuals the opportunity to realize the fruits of their own energy, their own creativity, their own intelligence, and in doing so to create jobs and opportunities for other people.

Rethinking Infrastructure for Development – May 29, 2006
Mr. Wolfowitz pledged to return the World Bank to more active support for infrastructure, both through increased lending and through helping governments foster a supportive environment for these investments to deliver results to the poor. In a speech to the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics in Tokyo, he noted that development across all regions will be hampered without a significant increase in available electricity, clean water, sanitation, ports and airports and roads.

Governance and Development: A Time for Action – April 11, 2006
Citing the grave threat poor governance and corruption pose to development, Mr. Wolfowitz outlined a comprehensive strategy for tackling corruption. Speaking in Jakarta, he laid out a three-prong plan for expanding the World Bank Group’s work on governance and anti-corruption at the country level, in Bank projects, and through partnerships with various stakeholders.

Learning from the Graduation of the Czech Republic – February 28, 2006
In praising the Czech Republic’s graduation from the World Bank’s borrowers, Mr. Wolfowitz highlighted the role the institution can play in helping emerging Middle-Income Countries in meeting specific goals, such as accession and successful integration into the European Union. By tailoring the content and timing of advice to the key objectives of the country it is working with, the Bank can remain truly valuable to our middle-income partners, he said.

Environment & Development: Reaching for a Double Dividend – December 20, 2005
During a visit to Brazil, Mr. Wolfowitz pointed to that country’s use of renewable energy sources and stressed the need for all countries – rich and poor – to confront the challenge of energy demand with understanding for the environmental consequences. He noted that Brazilhas long understood the importance of maintaining a balance between development and conservation and chose the route of innovation to turn this double challenge into a double dividend.

Trade: The Missing Link to Opportunity – December 7, 2005
Africa is the World Bank’s first priority both because it has the highest proportion of poor people in the world and because Africa can become the continent of hope, Mr. Wolfowitz told Japan’s National Press Club. But first, he said, the people of Africa must have access to markets where they can sell their products. Trade is the missing link to opportunity: without it, Africans will not escape poverty.

Trading for Results—Realizing the Promise of Doha – October 12, 2005
Keio University in Japan, Mr. Wolfowitz commended Japan for its central role as the world’s second largest bilateral aid donor and highlighted the importance of trade in promoting development and poverty reduction, particularly in Africa. He pointed out that both developing countries and Japan would benefit from removing barriers to trade, and urged Japan to play an active role in the Doha Round.

The Repatriation of the Abacha Funds – September 27, 2005
Nigeria and Switzerland reached an agreement to repatriate $500 million in stolen Abacha funds to Nigeria.  Not only developing countries but also developed countries share a responsibility for putting a stop to corruption, Mr. Wolfowitz told the media.

Charting a Way Ahead: The Results Agenda – September 24, 2005
In his first address to the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF, Mr. Wolfowitz stated that his priority was to ensure the Bank produces tangible results in its efforts to support the world's poor, and not just in the poorest countries. He said that whether investing in education, health, infrastructure, agriculture, the environment, the World Bank must be sure that we deliver results - qualitative as well as the quantitative results.

African Action Plan – September 8, 2005
All the challenges of development—poverty, disease, and lack of education—are magnified in Africa. But Africa is filled not only with desperate need but also tremendous promise. The African Action Plan articulates the Bank’s strategy for Africa, including initiatives to increase support for free primary education, fight malaria and AIDS, and meet the Millennium Development Goals.

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