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World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim (left) gestures during a joint press conference alongside the Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf (right), after the end of their meeting in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on June 1. (AFP)
IDB, World Bank to partner in development Kim underlines challenges facing Lebanon’s economic growth

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, June 3, (KUNA): Presidents of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and World Bank, Dr Ahmad Mohammad Ali and Jim Kim respectively, agreed to build a bilateral partnership geared to promote development in various fields particularly education. The two institutions will work out a program for reviewing the educational systems of their member states, according to a statement released by the IDB after the meeting of the two men on Monday. During his visit to the IDB headquarters in Jeddah, Kim was briefed in detail on the achievements, programs and future plans of the IDB Group. He commended the achievements of the Group and invited Dr Ali to join him and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on a visit to Somalia next year. The visit, the first such joint mission, aims to coordinate the development efforts in the Arab country, the statement noted.

Kim and Dr Ali reviewed the progress of cooperation between their two groups and highlighted the need to scale up financing for development in the Arab countries particularly those undergoing transition. They also discussed the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition, an international effort launched by the then G-8 at the Leaders Meeting in Deauville, France in 2011.

The IDB and the World Bank highlighted the need to join forces in the combat against such epidemics as malaria and polio, intensify support to the developing countries in Africa, back up the regional integration endeavors, improve the Islamic banking system, and support the private sector in their member states. Kim said that he will focus in Lebanon on making reforms to various sectors to energize economic growth, and to support its medium and long range strategies. Upon arrival in Beirut, Kim told reporters at the airport that his visit aimed to support Lebanon in this critical time, praising Lebanon’s hosting of Syrian refugees.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade Alan Hakim said the visit comes to address two main issues, one is the Syrian refugees, and the other is forming a joint plan to tackle the issue of energy. Prior to his arrival, Kim said that the Syrian crisis has cost Lebanon $7.5 billion, thus Lebanon’s gross domestic product went down by 2.9 percent between 2012 and 2014. The World Bank chief added that the number of Lebanese labeled as poor by the bank reached 170,000 in addition to doubling unemployment rate surpassing the 20 percent mark. The bank also warned in a statement last night from the increase in pressure to water and electricity in Jordan and Lebanon.

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