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.
Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, discussed how Japan’s success is an inspirational example for developing countries. Now, Japan is the second largest shareholder in the World Bank and a valued partner. Today the world is challenged to help the poor countries achieve the millennium development goals and that Japan and the World Bank have a common set of priorities in that endeavor. The Hong Kong round of the Doha development trade round is a big challenge ahead. The relationship between Japan and the World Bank is one of the most critical ones.