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James D. Wolfensohn

A Decade of Dedication to Poverty Eradication
Portrait of Wolfensohn

Let us move forward to fight poverty, to establish equity, and assure peace for the next generation.

-- James D. Wolfensohn

During 10 years as President of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn focused the spotlight back on the institution's true purpose — fighting global poverty and helping the world's poor forge better lives. Under his leadership, the World Bank implemented a range of significant reforms to help achieve its mission, and broke ground in several major areas including corruption, debt relief, disabilities, the environment and gender. 

He drew attention to the importance of involving young people and the need to expand the development dialog to include civil society, indigenous peoples, faith-based groups and other non-government stakeholders.

On May 31, 2005, at the end of his second term, he left office and assumed the post of Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. 

A Legacy of Thought and Calls to Action:

Voices for the World's Poor —A compilation of speeches and presentations by Mr. Wolfensohn that refect his thinking and the evolvement of development issues during his tenure.

arrowLooking Back, Looking Ahead —A study, with Chief Economist François Bourguignon, presented to delegates at the 2004 Annual Meetings of the Bank.

Balancing the Development Agenda —An analysis of the evolution of the Bank and its operations during the Wolfensohn presidency.

A Personal Assessment —In his final press briefing, at the Bank's 2005 Spring Meetings, Mr. Wolfensohn said he looked back with satisfaction on a tenure marked by active engagement and more decision-making  power in the hands of developing countries.




Development and the Bank — May 25
In a Speak Out session, Mr. Wolfensohn responded to questions from around the world on subjects such as debt relief, his most significant accomplishments, the future of development, global security, the Bank's role in Africa, the battle against corruption, how to engage youth, and other issues.

Transforming the Institution May 25
Calling his tenure at the Bank "the proudest work of my life," Mr. Wolfensohn reviews the progress that has been made over 10 years, during an interview on the Charlie Rose Show.


Fragile States Must Be Included  May 23 
Speaking in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Wolfensohn urged wealthy nations to reach out to the world's most fragile countries, which are burdened by conflict, weak governance and political turmoil.  Global peace and security, he said, depends in part on helping those 30 countries – home to 500 million people – that are being left behind.

Special Envoy Appointment    Apr. 14 
Mr. Wolfensohn said he was deeply honored to have been appointed by the Quartet Principals as Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. He expressed his belief that, "there is no more important issue for global peace than an equitable and secure solution to this problem."

Spring Meetings Press Briefing  Apr. 14 
In his 20th press conference, Mr. Wolfensohn briefed the media on the upcoming Spring Meetings, reviewed the situation of the Bank as a leading development institution, and reflected on his 10 years as president.

Support for Lao PDR  Apr. 1 
Mr. Wolfensohn commented on three projects approved for Lao PDR, including the Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric project, in which he outlined the objectives of the effort and stressed the need for monitoring its implementation.

New President Confirmed  Mar. 31 
Following the Board of Executive Directors' confirmation of Paul Wolfowitz to succeed Mr. Wolfensohn when he retires May 31, the President welcomed the decsiion and said that he will "make every effort to ensure that our transition period is successful, so Paul can hit the ground running on June 1.”

Support for UN Report   Mar. 21 
In a statement that welcomes the report by  UN Secretary General Kofi Anan,  In Larger Freedom, Mr. Wolfensohn  said it sets into context the need for an integrated understanding of development and security.

Transparency and Governance   Mar. 17 
Good governance and transparency are key to ensuring that resource-rich developing countries benefit from their oil, gas and mineral wealth, Mr. Wolfensohn told the Conference on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in London.


Nomination Announced  Mar. 16 
The Bank  Board received the name of Paul Wolfowitz, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, in nomination from the United States for the office of President, and is in the process of consultation with member countries.

Praise for Transparency  Mar. 16 
Transparency International's annual report on global corruption was hailed by Mr. Wolfensohn as an important contribution toward curbing what he termed an "unacceptable tax on the poor."

Commission for Africa Report  Mar. 11 
Mr. Wolfensohn strongly endorsed the report, which includes a call for doubling of aid to Sub-Saharan Africa.


Palestinian Authority Reforms  Mar. 1 
At a meeting of the international community in London, Mr. Wolfensohn said the Bank will continue to help raise short-term emergency budgetary support as well as medium-term development assistance, for the Palestinian Authority, and will work with investors to help stimulate private-sector re-engagement in the Palestinian economy.


Fighting Corruption   Feb. 24 
Commenting on the Bank's first annual report on investigations into allegations of fraud and corruption — both internally and in Bank-financed projects — Mr. Wolfensohn said, "Anyone who looks at the report will see that this is real action in confronting the cancer of corruption.”

arrowVulnerable Children

Disabilities and Development

Shaping the Agenda
arrowFighting AIDS

Faith and Development

arrowBroadening the Development Agenda
arrowRelieving Unsustainable Debt


Looking Back, Looking Ahead. A study with Chief Economist François Bourguignon

A New Global Balance. Vision for the future. (Flash)


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