Washington — World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will make a joint visit to Africa's Sahel region from November 4-7 to draw attention to the economic and security challenges facing the highly vulnerable region and to hear first-hand from Sahelian leaders how the international community can better coordinate to provide increased support.
This is the second joint trip by Dr. Kim and Mr. Ban to Africa. They first traveled together to the Great Lakes region in May 2013 to support regional efforts to create lasting security and development in this vulnerable part of the continent.
Dr. Kim and Mr. Ban will be joined by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Mr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank; and Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development.
The delegation will visit Mali on November 5th, Niger on November 6th and Burkina Faso and Chad on November 7th.
Africa's Sahel Region is home to more than 80 million people. The region faces grave threats to its security and development, exacerbated by decades-long, regional economic, political, demographic and ecological stresses. Instability in the Sahel is caused by recurring pressures of rapid population growth, extreme climate, weak institutions and a lack of state presence in many remote areas.
"The people of the Sahel have lived for decades with threats to their survival, battered by conflicts, political instability and a harsh and unpredictable environment. Now is the time to help them build more stable lives, with better access to quality health care and education, as well as good jobs, especially for women and young people," said Dr. Kim.
Mr. Ban said a United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel puts a priority on governance, security and resilience.
"First, the crisis in Mali has underscored the need to do more than fight fires in the region - we need to clear away the problems that could ignite conflict and instability. Second, we must take a regional approach. The challenges in the Sahel respect no borders - neither should our solutions. More than eleven million people are food insecure. Five million children under five are at risk of acute malnutrition. The region is awash in weapons, and highly vulnerable to terrorist and criminal networks. The Sahel has suffered its third major drought in less than a decade, and the effects of global warming are being felt as never before. These challenges cannot be overcome by any government or organization alone. The issues are connected and we need an approach that connects our efforts," said the UN's Ban.
While in the Sahel, the development leaders will meet with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta; President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; President of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré and President of Chad Idriss Déby.
During the trip, Dr. Kim will be joined by World Bank Vice President for Africa Makhtar Diop.