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Afghanistan's Leader of Interim Administration Meets World Bank President

Chairman Hamid Karzai and World Bank President James Wolfensohn at the Tokyo Donor Conference on the reconstruction Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai, Chairman of the Interim Administration for Afghanistan, yesterday discussed the priorities for the reconstruction of his country with World Bank President James Wolfensohn.

They agreed that a significant challenge for the interim authority would be the coordination of donor assistance in such a way that commitments and expenditures were transparent and aligned to Afghanistan's needs and its own vision for its future.

Mr. Wolfensohn welcomed Mr. Karzai and offered the institution's commitment, first to listen to the plans and priorities as articulated by Afghans themselves, and then to assist in implementing the program which reflected this vision.

This meeting follows the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan held in Tokyo, Japan January 21-22, 2002.

"In Tokyo, we saw considerable commitment to support Afghanistan's reconstruction," said Mr. Wolfensohn. "Both Chairman Karzai and I said 'great start, now let's roll up our sleeves for the very hard work ahead', both on specific projects and immediate support for government salaries and security.

"Today, we rolled up our sleeves. Chairman Karzai shared with us the priorities for his country's reconstruction agenda going forward. He emphasized the need for capacity building, a legal and judicial system that protects rights, a financial system that functions and a delivery system for assistance that is transparent. He shared with us his commitment to secure the rightful place of women in society, to get children back to school, to get delivery of health services going, to put communications in place, to restore some water and energy, to begin road rebuilding, to restart the rural economy and to establish a police and defense force so essential to security."

Mr. Wolfensohn agreed with the Chairman that what ordinary Afghans needed to see now was the impact of immediate action which would prove to them the positive support of the international community in helping their country build a future. The World Bank and its Board were totally committed to helping realize this, said Mr. Wolfensohn.

Useful Links: Click here to view the press release on the web. Click here for more information on the Bank's involvement in Afghanistan.