5. Speeches by Paul Wolfowitz (2005-07)

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Paul Wolfowitz served as 10th President of the World Bank Group from 2005 to 2007.

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Remarks at International Conference on Improving Governance and Fighting Corruption, Brussels, March 14, 2007

2007-03-14, Wolfowitz, Paul

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, discussed the fight for good governance and the fight against corruption. More and more African countries are taking on the challenge of corruption. It is important to work with the private sector to combat corruption in developing countries. It should be possible to work to strengthen systems in the country rather than trying to create parallel systems that bypass and, in the process, weaken indigenous systems. He noted the need to monitor progress and to work with donors on harmonization. A strong private sector creates jobs, opportunities for people to improve their own lives and even more importantly the lives of their children in honest work rather than in corruption. It is a virtuous circle where good governance leads to stronger development and stronger development leads to stronger governance.

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Roundtable Discussion on Economic Development, Georgia State, GA, December 11, 2006

2006-12-11, Wolfowitz, Paul, Young, Andrew

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, and Ambassador Andrew Young engaged in a roundtable discussion on economic development, moderated by Dean Bahl of Georgia State. Wolfowitz has made Africa the first priority of the Bank. There is really a chance for Africa to turn the corner. It’s going to have to start with the best performers, doing what the so-called Tigers did in East Asia, showing the way for other countries. Young said you can make more money honestly in a growing economy, than you can steal in a dying economy. Wolfowitz gave examples of the turnaround in Africa. Africa needs an environment where foreign investment support and local domestic investment is even more important.

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Parliaments and Poverty in Africa

2006-10-17, Wolfowitz, Paul

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, reminded participants that it is important to remember the more than 1 billion people worldwide struggling to survive on less than $1 a day. Fighting the scourge of poverty is at the heart of the World Bank Group’s mission. The burden of debt and the disease of corruption threaten to undermine the efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Many regions of the world have made significant progress to improve living standards and reduce poverty. Sub-Saharan Africa is moving dangerously in the opposite direction. Africa’s richest resource, and its best hope, is its people. But more development financing and debt relief is needed. In the long run, neither aid nor debt relief will help the poor escape poverty without a transparent and accountable government. We are seeing an informed African citizenry demanding change. The World Bank Group is committed to supporting champions of reform in both government and civil society. Partnering with parliaments from donor countries is as important as working with parliaments in recipient countries. To achieve true prosperity for our integrated planet, we must work together to help give the poorest among us the chance to find their way out of poverty.

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Path to Prosperity

2006-09-19, Wolfowitz,Paul

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, discussed Singapore's remarkable progress along the road from poverty to prosperity which has also been discovered by many other countries in East Asia and around the world. He spoke of how each country must find its own path for people to pursue the same dreams of the chance to go to school, the security of a good job, and the ability to provide a better future for their children. Throughout the world, and importantly in the developing world, there is a growing recognition that the path to prosperity must be built on a solid foundation of good governance. Rich countries that have a vital responsibility in the fight against corruption and the need to take action against bribe givers who often come from their countries and to help the developing country partners recover stolen assets. He concluded by saying that the Bank’s mission is to help pave the way for the poor by giving them opportunity to work, so that they can take control of their own destiny.

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On the 50th Anniversary of Ghana's Independence

2007-03-05, Wolfowitz, Paul

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, congratulated Ghana on its fiftieth anniversary that it has become one of the best performers economically in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is expected to meet the Millennium Development Goal to cut poverty in half. He spoke about World Bank partnership with the university to help create a facility that provides access to a wealth of development information for students, researchers, faculty, and the general public, and encourages all to take advantage of this new resource on the campus. Ghana faces challenges to boost the competitiveness of the private sector, an important engine for job creation. Ghana will need to invest heavily in infrastructure, and reform its energy sector, while ensuring sustained good governance. He concluded by saying that Ghana should inspire Africa by aiming higher, moving faster, taking bigger and bolder steps to achieve the future that the people of Ghana deserve.

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Why Africa Matters to Americans

2006-12-10, Wolfowitz, Paul

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, talked about a new generation of leaders emerging in Africa, who increasingly recognize their responsibility to their people. The landscape across Africa is changing. Conflicts diminish. Small Businesses emerge. We are seeing a new breath of hope infused in all parts of that continent. More and more Africans are saying they can’t live with corruption. Strong U.S. support for foreign aid is particularly important to help address issues important to Americans, issues like government transparency, anti-corruption, and civil society participation. Wolfowitz concluded that it will be up to Africans most of all to bring about the momentous changes needed to conquer poverty. But as Americans we must be able to say that we did everything we could to give them the hand that they need and deserve.

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Transparency in Extractive Industries

2006-10-16, Wolfowitz, Paul

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, discussed the fight against poverty during the last 20 years, during which East Asian countries have made progress, but Sub-Saharan African poverty has doubled. Oil revenues far exceed official development assistance. Yet for some countries it has been more of a curse than a blessing. Corruption and waste has led to distorted economies and demoralized societies in which government power has become an object of plunder leading to civil war and social chaos. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) aims to improve governance in resource-rich countries through disclosure and verification of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, and mining. It focuses on transparency, which is one important aspect of governance—but it is an important step towards transforming resources into real development impact, to real effect on the lives of the poor. He spoke about EITI process still facing many challenges ahead. If EITI is to succeed, it must engage every group that has a stake in the country’s future. EITI process requires governments to significantly increase their capacity while coping with other pressing demands. Making EITI succeed means going beyond just EITI in making revenues more transparent. We need to begin a vigorous effort in the area of helping countries recover stolen assets. For most countries EI revenues by themselves will not be enough by themselves to guarantee higher living standards for all citizens. We must do everything we can to help these countries transform their wealth into a brighter future for every citizen.

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Remarks at Liberia Partners Forum, Washington DC, February 13, 2007

2007-02-13, Wolfowitz, Paul

In his opening remarks, President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz said that the international community needs to do much more and faster and take advantage of this unique opportunity that Liberians have now, after 25 years of instability, to take control of their destiny. Liberia’s $3.7 billion debt is clearly unsustainable and an unacceptable burden. He called on the international community to work together to clear the arrears so that the country can move forward. He paid tribute to what he terms as the “inspirational leadership of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,” and added that this new hope must not be allowed to fade away. He said that “Those who remember the horror of the past can hardly imagine that Liberia has now become a place of hope.

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Africa: The Road to Opportunity

2006-10-18, Wolfowitz, Paul

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, remarked that the past-quarter century has to count as the most successful 25 years in history in the fight against poverty. The one region that has so far been conspicuously left behind by that progress is Sub-Saharan Africa. The people of Africa are hard at work building a more hopeful future for their continent. There is no shortage of energy, ambition, or entrepreneurial spirit. What are most severely lacking are resources to support good plans and good ideas. For Africa and the poorest countries in the world a critical source of development funding comes from the International Development Association or IDA. France has been a leader in IDA in the past. The World Bank has responded with an ‘Africa Action Plan.’ Wolfowitz briefly discussed four key areas of focus: Education, Health, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure.

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Moving Forward from Singapore

2006-09-20, Wolfowitz, Paul

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, discussed giving the poor people of the world a chance to escape poverty. He spoke about the actions to promote good governance that are crucial to successful economic development, poverty reduction and helping member countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals. He mentioned issues of global import, particularly the prospects for the Doha Round and the issue of clean, efficient, and affordable energy. He concluded by saying that the Bank Group will continue to remain active in a variety of international efforts to provide global public goods.