KISANGANI/KINSHASA, March 8 – World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz made the following statement today upon his arrival in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Paul Wolfowitz: “I am really delighted to be visiting Congo. This a unique moment in the history of this country, with a recent democratic transition after many, many years of terrible war. Congo now faces the challenges of consolidating the peace and reconstructing the country after conflict. The dividends of peace need to be translated into improved living conditions for all the citizens of this country.
“It is very important for development partners such as the World Bank Group to continue to support this country’s recovery efforts and to create conditions for growth and to enable people to escape poverty. A successful Congo would have major positive effects for the entire region and its many neighbors, but even more importantly for the millions of Congolese who deserve to benefit from improved management of this country’s richness which includes both its natural wealth but also its human potential.
“It is an enormous job just as this is an enormous country. It will take the kind of commitment that we have seen this new government start to show. I am particularly encouraged that in the recent presentation to the Parliament of the Government presented a very ambitious plan for improving and strengthening governance in this country.
“That can only succeed through the efforts of the Congolese people themselves and their leadership. It is going to take honest and wise leadership and energy and commitment from the people. But, it is also going to take partnership and coordination by all the donors to achieve these development objectives. I am very pleased that Louis Michel, who is the Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner for the European Union, is joining me for part of this visit. We are working together to try to maximize the availability and efficiency of resources in support of Congo’s development efforts.
“Over the next two days, I will be meeting with as many representatives of the government, private sector, and civil society as time permits. I am particularly happy I will meet with representatives of a number of women’s groups, particularly because today is International Women’s Day and women have a very important role to play in the development of any country. It is absolutely important that women, who represent half of the population, be enabled to contribute their full share to development. If women are handicapped the whole development process is held back.
“I also look forward to learning more about the remarkable history of this remarkable country and to hear first hand of the challenges facing Congo to get a better appreciation of what the World Bank Group can do to accelerate development and to make sure that this is finally a transition to a secure and stable peace.
“Thank you very much.”