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Sahel New Target for Joint World Bank -U.N. Mission

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 1 2013 (IPS) - Announcing a joint mission to the Sahel region, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim addressed the press Friday on their new mission which would place peace and development at the forefront.

The historic visit set the groundwork for plans to assist in the revival of Africa’s economic and social future.

“Earlier this year, President Kim and I travelled together to the African Great Lakes region in support of a new peace framework aimed at tackling the roots of long-running conflict and under-development.” Ban told reporters.

Using their high profile positions, knowledge and leadership, the two engaged in discussions with various African leaders, members of the African Union and civil society on issues pertaining to peace and security, development and economic stability.

Pledging one billions dollars to the Great Lakes Region, both Kim and Ban encouraged African partners to work towards developing their countries by investing in their people.

Visiting Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad, Mali and Niger, this upcoming trip which starts Monday will have three major points: addressing the instability in Mali, supporting governments and taking a regional approach to handling issues of poverty.

With the current state of the Northern Africa and the effects of violent conflict, the Sahel region lags behind in development and protection of its people

However, some critics remain skeptical of where the fruits of a World Bank-United Nations labour will sprout.  Africa continues to suffer from corruption and accountability has proven to be difficult.  Still, the World Bank President assures that this joint mission has survived revision, and its initiatives are bound to be successful.

“The World Bank Group will mobilize behind a new approach to the Sahel. We will do this while working side by side with countries from the Sahel, the Secretary General and other development leaders from the UN, the European Commission, the African Development Bank, and the African Union.” Kim said in his statement via videoconference from Washington, D.C.

Both Kim and Ban plan on looking at a number of different issues from disease, women’s empowerment, education and economic development of young people. To do so, they will utilize the opportunity to be on the ground, working directly with Sahelian leaders and other community officials to both implement and manage solutions.

“Now is the time to help them build more stable lives. They need better access to quality health care and education, as well as good jobs, especially for women and young people. The Secretary General and I will hear first-hand from Sahelian leaders next week.  We know their nations suffer from many interrelated problems.” shared Kim.

Addressing the root causes of conflict and poverty are reason enough for this joint mission. Therefore both Ban and Kim will have to work tirelessly to build effective programs that stress accountability and transparency to continue sustaining the five major countries—many months after they board that plane back to the United States.

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