World Bank’s new President David Malpass will be making his first foreign trip to sub-Saharan Africa to highlight his vision for the bank’s poverty reduction and development agenda, the bank said on Friday
A World Bank spokesman said in Washington that Malpass would be traveling this weekend to Madagascar, Ethiopia and Mozambique before flying to Egypt and a debt conference in Paris.
Malpass was quoted as saying that Africa was a key priority for the bank, due to its high concentration of the world’s poorest people.
The bank spokesman, who preferred anonymity, said leaders of two of the countries on Malpass’ trip, Ethiopia and Mozambique, were among a number of African leaders also attending this year’s China’s second Belt and Road infrastructure summit.
Malpass, who was the Treasury’s undersecretary for international affairs, is a longtime critic of China’s Belt and Road lending practices and had worked to raise alarms about them with G7 and G20 countries in that role.
Malpass said at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings this month that meeting the development lender’s goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 called for a focus on Africa.
“By 2030, nearly 9 in 10 extremely poor people will be Africans, and half of the world’s poor will be living in fragile and conflict-affected settings,” he told a news conference at the meetings.
“This calls for urgent action by countries themselves and by the global community.”
He told reporters on his first day on the job that he wanted to “evolve” the bank’s relationship with China to one where Beijing is a bigger contributor of capital and cooperates more closely with the bank on development issues and poverty reduction.
Nearly 40 world leaders and scores of finance officials, including International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde are gathered in Beijing for the infrastructure summit.