News Column

World Bank Group President Praises Lebanon and Jordan for Hosting Syrian Refugees, Calls on Global Community to Do More

June 5, 2014



 AMMAN, June 4, 2014

(WAFA) – World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim urged the international

community to recognize the enormous role that Lebanon and Jordan are playing in

absorbing the huge influx of refugees and to step up the aid effort to match

the severity of the crisis, said a statement issued by the World Bank.

On his last day in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

region, Kim visited the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan to bring global

attention to the plight of the refugees and the impact of the Syrian crisis on

neighboring countries.



"The countries neighboring Syria, Jordan and Lebanon in

particular, have assumed the responsibility of maintaining regional stability

by taking in close to two million refugees," said Kim outside the Zaatari

refugee camp, and added: "the international community must step in and do its

part."



In a speech a day earlier in the Lebanese capital, Beirut,

Kim stressed that the region was at a crossroads and that it was time to rally

around a plan to rebuild and lay the foundations for a more just and prosperous

future, even in the face of the humanitarian crisis. The World Bank Group, he

added, would commit the full range of its resources in support of the effort.



 "For Syria, and for

Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq, this process of preparing for peace will not

be easy," said Kim before an audience of university students and

policymakers.  "But this war will end. We

need now to put together the development plans for the day when Syria's guns

fall silent and when an internationally recognized government ensures peace and

stability."



 During a visit that

included stops in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan, the World Bank Group

President carried his message of preparing for peace to political leaders,

civil society and the private sector. In Saudi Arabia, Kim met with government

officials and Arab Development Funds to strengthen partnerships and scale up

support to countries in transition. Kim expressed strong appreciation for the

close collaboration with Saudi Arabia in support of Yemen during its transition

process. Saudi Arabia has contributed US$3.25 billion to neighboring Yemen to

help develop its economy which included a US$1 billion deposit to the Central

Bank of Yemen.



While in Lebanon, the World Bank Group President visited a

local public school in Beirut for a firsthand experience of the strain on

education services arising from the Syrian children refugees. The increased

demands on the school system have raised costs and impacted the quality of

education.



 In meetings with

political leaders, Kim reaffirmed the Bank's commitment to Lebanon's long term

development goals, while simultaneously garnering support from the

international community to strengthen the ability of the country's communities

and institutions to withstand the shocks emanating from the Syrian crisis. In a

separate meeting with the donor community, Kim urged representatives to

contribute—quickly and generously—to a World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund set up

for Lebanon.



 In meetings with King

Abdullah II of Jordan and a range of political leaders, the World Bank Group

President delivered a similar message of dual assistance to cope with the

Syrian crisis and establish the conditions for inclusive growth. "We are

working closer than ever with the United Nations on complementing immediate

humanitarian assistance with long term development support," said Kim.

"Additional support for Jordan and Lebanon is critical so that they are

resilient enough to cope with circumstances while staying focused on creating

the right environment for the region to realize its immense potential."



 Kim was accompanied

on his trip by Inger Andersen, World Bank Regional Vice President for MENA and

Mouayed Makhlouf, International Finance Corporation's Regional Director for

MENA.



 The World Bank

Group's (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA) active portfolio in the MENA region, currently

at US$16 billion, has been growing steadily over the last few years. New World

Bank Group commitments for fiscal year 2014 are close to US$5 billion.



 World Bank Group

President Jim Yong Kim's visit to Jordan is part of a three-country trip to the

Middle East which included stops in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.



 K.F./T.R.




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Source: Palestine News Agency (WAFA)


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