At a gathering of African and business leaders convened by the Obama administration, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim highlighted former President George W. Bush’s work on AIDS in Africa.
“I think back just to 2000 when a small group of us began pointing to the problem of HIV in Africa, and we made the point that this is a problem that we can solve, this is a problem we can tackle,” he said.
Kim recalled that such efforts were met with skepticism, “naysayers” who said, “It’s impossible to treat HIV in Africa,” and “Africa is going to have to wait for the next generation.”
“But through the effort of people like George W. Bush – who launched the [President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] initiative – and many Members of Congress here today, who supported it, ten million people in Africa are on treatment. And the treatment outcomes and the compliance is higher than in many cities in the United States,” Kim said.
“We should never, ever doubt the potential of Africa, not only to address its problems, but to grow in a way that will boost up the entire world,” he argued, stressing that the World Bank Group does “believe in Africa.”
Kim also announced that the World Bank Group, “following President Obama’s lead,” will commit $5 billion in direct financing, investment guarantees and advisory services to Power Africa.
“The U.S. government and the World Bank Group are working now on specific tasks and milestones for projects that, if implemented, would achieve one quarter of Power Africa’s goal of generating ten thousand megawatts of new power in Sub-Sahara Africa,” Kim said, adding that more funding is needed.
The George W. Bush Institute is partnering with the Office of the First Lady and the State Department to host Wednesday’s U.S.-Africa Summit forum.