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World Bank pledges more help for ambitious Rwanda

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by selemala, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. selemala

    selemala Senior Member

    Aug 13, 2009
    Joined: Feb 14, 2007
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    By Lesley Wroughton

    KIGALI (Reuters) – World Bank President Robert Zoellick pledged on Wednesday to boost development aid to Rwanda to help the rebuild the country ripped apart by genocide.

    The tiny landlocked east African state is reviving its economy with spending on tourism, agriculture and mining after 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed over a 100-day period in 1994.

    Reforms and new programs have turned the nation around in the 15 intervening years.

    "On issue after issue, this is a country on the move," Zoellick told reporters after talks with the government, including a lengthy meeting with President Paul Kagame.

    "It's a country that also brings great momentum."

    Zoellick said the World Bank wanted to bolster the areas of infrastructure, farming and private sector development.

    After several years of strong growth, Rwanda has been hit hard by the collapse in global trade and commodity prices.

    Lower levels of foreign direct investment are seen slashing growth to around 5 percent this year from 11 percent in 2008.

    Over the past three years, World Bank assistance to Rwanda totaled about $400 million.

    "I'd like to do more," Zoellick said at the end of his visit to the capital Kigali.

    He said Rwanda could benefit from international investment in agriculture and revenues generated by new global climate change initiatives for nations that protect their forests.

    "This is a country where you feel for every dollar you spend, or every hour you put in, you get a tremendous return," he added.

    Kagame is a former rebel leader whose fighters invaded to stop Rwanda's genocide. He has won praise for running a disciplined administration and attracting foreign investors, but critics say his leadership style is authoritarian.

    Zoellick is on a three-nation tour to Africa visiting countries emerging from conflict including Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.