Diop’s top agenda: Middle income countries

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In his first visit to the continent after holding his current post on May 7,2012, the new World Bank Vice President for Africa,

Makhtar Diop, says that he will focus on the formation of more middle income countries in Africa in his press briefing with journalist last Friday.
“Ethiopia is an important client of the bank not only in terms of volume of lending but also its role. Ethiopia is an important regional player. It is important for me to stop over in Addis and meet Ethiopian authority in my first visit to the continent in my current position, not only to have their view on Ethiopia’s priority but also that of Africa. This visit is about getting to know leaders’ priority,” said the Vice President.
“What I would like to do during my tenure is really develop middle income countries’ agenda in the World Bank portfolio in Africa. I will also engage with those countries which are now at richer level of development which does not make them accessible to our aid window. Such countries have still big development challenges such as inequality, job creation, sustained growth and some time less diverse economic base. I will engage with those countries more actively,” he added.   
He arrived in Addis last Friday from Arusha where he attended the African Development Bank’s annual meeting.
His busy schedule sent him to Johannesburg Saturday and is scheduled to arrive in Dakar tomorrow, June 4th 2012 before heading back to Washington, DC. He will return to the continent sometime in late June or early July to visit Kenya and some other African countries. He has discussed with the Ethiopian Prime Minster about the challenges the continent faces at present and how they can work together on solutions regarding issues related to agricultural development, job creation, and infrastructure financing in the continent.  
Diop, former Minister of Finance of Senegal, has more than 25 years of experience in the area of development finance. He has served as a country director of the bank in Brazil, Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia. He has also served as director of infrastructure, director of strategy and operations in the bank’s engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Prior to his engagement with the bank, Diop served at the International Monetary Fund. 
The World Bank works with 48 Sub-Saharan African countries and provides funding for about 500 projects. It finances projects and programs in areas like agriculture, trade, transport, energy, education, health water and sanitation. The bank committed over USD 7 billion for development financing in the African continent last year. Out of the total finance committed to the continent, USD 5.5 billion has been disbursed.