So far, so quiet.

South African newspapers have been remarkably quiet about the Zoellick visit over the weekend.  This from the Sunday Times

Nominee to be World Bank President, Robert Zoellick, said his meeting with SA’s Finance Minister Trevor Manuel today was “very cordial and very helpful. He has considerable experience in Africa and globally. We talked about some of the issues here.” Zoellick said that Manuel had informed him about regional groupings like the Southern African Development Community, as well as pensions and savings in Africa. “We also spoke about issues related to Chinese investment in the region,” added Zoellick. “I got a sense from him of the World Bank’s role in SA – he was very helpful,” concluded Zoellick.

AFP quotes Zoellick as saying “one of the things that is striking about dealing with sub-Saharan Africa now is that … the new generation of leaders are taking the sense of responsibility for their countries (in areas of) growth and wealth-generation, overcoming poverty, jobs creation.” Zoellick said that he also discussed with officials energy problems, development of financial market, trade, accountability, corruption, transparency, debt relief, climate change, poverty, HIV-AIDS and other diseases, democracy, investment, telecommunications, education, human resources, agriculture and infrastructure. Well, that’s everything then.

Reuters reports that Zoellick was due to speak with some NGOs before leaving South Africa Saturday afternoon to head to Europe – Britiain, France, Belgium, Germany and Norway.  Any word on those discussions?

4 thoughts on “So far, so quiet.

  1. Yep, how fast one has forgotten about Corporations like Enron ( the employees have seen their pensions vapourised), WorldComm, Tyco etc. It is so easy to bash an I.O. with the same rhetorics because one assumes that ONLY the US taxpayers are shouldering the world 🙁

  2. This is a new phase, more staid, mature and boring. You cannot expect the same intense attention now when the World Bank is getting back to normal with Mr. Zoellick’s nomination. The Wolfowitz scandal and his misery brought out the thirst for blood and rejocing in the press and blogger’s sharklike feeding frenzy. Those days are over, sorry. Back to boring times.

    There are a few reports on Zoellick’s visit to South Africa.
    From Business Day, June 11, 2007

    No one-size-fits-all approach could be adopted for African countries, said Zoellick, emphasising the vast potential of the continent. “There are some strong opportunities here,” he said. “You want to catch the wave and move forward with some of the high-quality economic leaders in Africa. I hope the World Bank can develop stronger partnerships with African countries to assist them in achieving stronger growth.”
    The former US trade representative is a vocal advocate of free trade and open markets, and his remarks signal a shift in approach to Africa’s problems, with a growing emphasis on helping the continent overcome systemic handicaps to incorporate it in the global trading system in a sustainable manner. This entails addressing capacity constraints and infrastructural inadequacies.
    But the focus is also on encouraging greater regional integration, which would create larger markets for trade, and south-south trade. “There is a need to look at supply-side constraints, which is the ability to move goods and people. It is about roads, ports and telecommunications. A key focus is to secure this, not just in the context of countries but especially in the context of regions … With many of the countries being small markets, there is a need to look at borders,” Zoellick said, pointing out a need to deepen discussions on regional integration between members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas)

    Zoellick’s stance is in harmony with a desire by many African leaders to wean themselves from their reliance on the west and cement their independence. The World Bank presidential candidate noted that Trevor Manuel, in their discussions, also broached the need to overcome national borders, while the subject of an investment fund, which would tap into Africa’s savings potential and reinvest it on the continent rather than in Europe or the US, was also discussed.
    Zoellick also demurred when asked whether he felt it was right that the World Bank has, by tradition, always been led by an American, saying he was ready to defend the bank’s agenda.

    “I certainly understand the difference between someone in a national capacity and someone in an international capacity,” he said. “I recognize it’s a different role.”

  3. There will always be petty minded people who are driven by envy, prejudice and resentment or because they build an easy straw man to burn. “Open your eyes ” just cannot see because even if the eyes are open is still blinded by a small mind and a disregard for facts. The Bank has made a huge difference in the lives of people around the world, all loans are being prepaid, repaid or in special circumstances they are restructured. The organization may need reforms but not because of the weak and tired reasons offered. Get over it, the grapes are not sour, use your open eyes to read and learn the facts and become informed of the real issues.

    Mr. Zoellick seems to be doing the right thing, by listening, learning and getting information on the criticism and perceptions of what the World Bank should do and paying careful attention to the call for reforms he will be able to be more responsive to the needs of the poor in Africa.

  4. No one is reporting because no one cares! Hello! Bottomline that most people feel outside of the World Bank: Most receive exhorbitant tax-free salaries with benefits that NO corporation would ever think to give its employees. Most are not making a difference in the lives of others. And most loans are not repaid, doled out by the WB to corrupt ministers. This organization is in MAJOR need of reform.

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