World Bank chief hails Saudi efforts to support Mideast stability

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World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, in a special interview with Al Arabiya’s Washington, DC bureau chief Hisham Melhem, discusses the objective of his planned visit to several Arab states, ways the Bank can help ease the Syrian refugee crisis and methods of increasing participation of the region’s youth.

Kim explained that it was the role of the institution to help every member of the World Bank “to grow their economy, lift people out of poverty and experience a kind of economic growth that is inclusive.”

Asked about a planned visit to Saudi Arabia, Kim praised the kingdom for assisting countries the World Bank was trying to assist as well and said “we are going to talk with them about how we can make more effective the work we do in supporting countries like Yemen.”

Kim also praised the roles of Lebanon and Jordan, noting the two countries’ generosity in helping Syrian refugees who had fled the crisis in their home country.

“I think [the generosity of Lebanon and Jordan] has been one of the most under-appreciated events of the last few years,” he said.

Kim said the world needed to acknowledge the efforts of the two countries with “even more support.”

“I want to send a message that even though we are at our limit we are going to continue to support them,” he said, adding that the world needed to help the two countries and avoid a “double crisis.”

Kim explained the different financial and technical means the Bank could help in terms of the Syrian refugee crisis while noting the Bank’s coordination with international bodies such as the United Nations.

He also said his trips in the Middle East would open the opportunity for the World Bank to address directly the issues raised by the Arab youth.

“What I want to talk to them about is working with them and working with all the inhabitants of the region to forge a vision for the future of the region that’s based on putting the investment in place that will allow growth of the private sector that will create jobs, jobs for young people in a way that will bring more people into being social actors,” he said.

Reflecting on South Korea’s economic trajectory from the 1960’s onward, Kim said health and education as well as allowing “market forces to have an impact inside” the country had been factors in that country’s development.

He also recommended that oil-rich countries in the Arab world needed to think “about the world after the oil runs out.”

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