By Julius Businge
World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make a historic joint visit to Africa’s Great Lakes region from May 22 to 24 in support of a recent landmark peace agreement and to push for economic development in one of the world’s most troubled regions.
A statement from the World Bank dated May 20 says Kim and Mr. Ban will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from May 22 to 23; Rwanda from May 23 – 24 and to Uganda on May 24.
The bank says the visit will draw attention to the plight of fragile and conflict-affected countries struggling to meet the Millennium Development Goals and will highlight the commitment of the two international organizations to jointly tackle global conflict and poverty.
The trip also follows a groundbreaking agreement-the “Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region” – that was signed in February by 11 African nations to end conflict in DRC and bring peace to the Great Lakes region.
The signatories are Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
“This comprehensive new approach gives the DRC and the Great Lakes region its best hope for peace in many years. But commitments on paper must translate into action on the ground,” said the UN Secretary-General, adding a peace deal must deliver a peace dividend – development, opportunity and hope for people who have suffered for too long.
The visit to Africa will end in Uganda where the two leaders will meet with President Yoweri Museveni and other officials.
“The leaders of the Great Lakes region will be the key drivers of peace, stability and economic growth. We pledge that the United Nations and the World Bank Group will work closely together in new and deeper ways, following the governments’ lead,” Kim said.