The New Times (Kigali)

24 March 2012

Rwanda: Kagame Backs Jim Kim

President Paul Kagame yesterday gave his approval of Jim Yong Kim nomination as head of the World Bank Group.

Kim was nominated by US President of United States, Barrack Obama, to replace out going president Robert Zoellick.

In a statement, Kagame described Kim as a true friend of Africa dedicated to supporting Rwanda's health system.

"I was delighted to learn that Jim Kim has been nominated for this post, as he is a true friend of Africa and well known for his decade of work to support us in developing an efficient health system in Rwanda," reads the statement from the President while on a working visit to Turkey.

"He's not only a physician and a leader who knows what it takes to address poverty, but also a genuinely good person. President Obama's nomination of Dr. Kim as President of the World Bank is a welcome one, and should resonate well with the many men and women who are working to transform lives around the world".

In his announcement nominating Kim, President Obama said that "Jim has spent more than two decades working to improve conditions in developing countries around the world."

The actual selection of the next President of the World Bank will be made next month by the World Bank's 25-member executive board. The United States, as the world's largest economy, has the largest percentage of the votes.

Dr Kim is currently the president of Dartmouth College in the United States.

He has been a Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Kim has 20 years of experience in improving health in developing countries. He is a founding trustee and the former Executive Director of Partners In Health (PIH), a not-for-profit organisation that supports a range of health programmes in poor communities.

PIH works at three district hospitals in Rwanda and 37 health centres.

PIH's Rwanda project was designed as a comprehensive primary health care model within the public sector. The approach uses HIV/AIDS prevention and care as the entry point to build capacity to address the major health problems faced by the local population.

The project also operates in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Lesotho, Malawi and the United States.

According to his profile on Wikipedia, from 2004 to 2006, Kim served as Director of the World Health Organisation's HIV/AIDS department, a post he was appointed to in March 2004 after serving as advisor to the WHO Director General.

Kim oversaw all of the WHO's work related to HIV/AIDS, focusing on initiatives to help developing countries scale up their treatment, prevention, and care programs, including the "3x5" initiative designed to put three million people in developing countries on AIDS treatment by the end of 2005.

An expert in tuberculosis, Kim has chaired or served on a number of committees on international TB policy. He has conducted extensive research into effective and affordable strategies for treating strains of TB that are resistant to standard drugs.

While at WHO, Kim was responsible for coordinating HIV efforts with the TB department.

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