Rwanda and Benin have expressed support for the re-election of the current World Bank president, Dr Jim Yong Kim, citing his capability and passion for development.
The endorsement was made at a joint news conference by President Paul Kagame and his Benin counterpart Patrice Talon, who was in the country for a three-day state visit.
The two leaders said Jim merits trust to continue heading the World Bank and that under his leadership the Bank had served the purpose it was set up for.
The current World Bank president has been at the helm of the institution since 2012 with his first term coming to an end in June next year.
President Kagame said from Rwanda’s perspective, under Jim’s leadership, the bank had performed well in supporting the growth of developing countries.
“From my experience and perspective as well as that of Rwanda, seeing it in a broad sense, the Bank in general has done a tremendous job accomplishing the purpose it was established for, especially as it relates to development,” Kagame said.
The President said the World Bank chief’s background in development was evident in his stewardship of the institution.
“This particular president who has been leading it for the first mandate has a terrific background in development matters and has also demonstrated the capability to put that background into action and implementation of what needs to be done,” he said.
Kagame said having known Jim prior to his current position, his track record goes beyond his five-year term at the World Bank.
Dr Jim was one of the co-founders of Partners in Health, a global health organisation working to improve the health of poor people.
“When it comes to development, he was development-oriented even before he went to the World Bank; he was one of the co-founders of Partners in Health, which has been very central in the area of development in the health sector.”
“In a broad sense of development, I rate Dr Jim very highly; he is a capable person and has the passion to do the work that needs to be done for the Bank and its activities relating to development which concern us as developing countries in particular. He has our full endorsement,” the President said.
On his part, President Talon said Jim has demonstrated interest in Africa’s development meriting him the trust of the world to remain at the helm of the body.
Talon said he does not expect any obstacles for the re-election of Jim from developing countries as he had proven to be a partner.
“Dr Jim merits our trust. This is an opportunity to express our support to his candidacy,” the Benin president said.
“Dr Jim has strived to make the World Bank a partner of choice for African countries. The Bank has provided significant development support in key sectors of priority to Africa, including health, energy, infrastructure, social protection, urbanisation, environment, agriculture and education,” a Rwanda government statement said.
It added that under Dr Jim’s leadership, the Bank had shown unwavering commitment to stabilisation and progress of the Great Lakes Region through regional projects bringing together governments and the private sector.
“The Bank also took the lead in the response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, through a multinational, multifaceted and localised approach. Dr Kim’s continued leadership of the World Bank will consolidate gains achieved in our countries and foster even greater collaboration to end poverty and improve livelihoods.”
Four years into his five-year term, Jim has reorganised the Bank, allowing the institution’s expertise to move more freely across regions, reduced its internal bureaucracy and saved millions in operating costs.