Rwanda and Benin have jointly endorsed Dr. Jim Yong Kim as their preferred candidate for World Bank group president.
President Paul Kagame and President Patrice Talon of Benin announced their choice during a joint press conference at Village Urugwiro in Kigali. Talon has concluded a three day state visit which started on Monday.
For the two leaders, Dr. Yong Kim that is seeking a second term at the World Bank group, has been instrumental in helping the developing countries particularly in Africa to benefit from crucial financial and technical assistance from the bank.
“From my own experience and perspective and in broad sense, the bank in general has done a tremendous job especially for developing countries since its establishment,” President Kagame said.
He added that “Jim is a highly capable person and has demonstrated capability and passion to serve the world. He has our full endorsement.”
Meanwhile, for President Talon “As Africa the personality and caliber of Jim do melt us, his candidature is an opportunity for us to achieve our development agenda.”
The World Bank has been instrumental in helping African countries to maintain growth and cushioning the continent from shocks mainly from falling commodity and oil prices that affected most economies across the continent.
The endorsement comes at the time Dr.Jim- a South Korean, received a positive nod from United States for his re-nomination, after overseeing the first major restructuring in two decades at the group.
President Kagame also pledged commitment towards strengthening bilateral partnership between Rwanda and Benin that was set into motion by signing of cooperation agreement by foreign affairs ministers of the two countries.
“The signing of the general cooperation agreement reaffirms this commitment and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with Benin and working more closely to increase opportunities for our citizens and advance integration on the continent.”
President Talon’s visit to Rwanda is a reciprocal of President Kagame’s visit to the West African nation.
The agreement highlights key areas of cooperation with key sectors including; ICT mining, tourism , good governance taking up priority focus.
“We have been having challenges in our ICT sector and our visit here (in Rwanda) in couple of days has shown how Rwanda has tremendously succeeded in information and technology,” President Talon said, “We want Rwanda’s ICT as a ready-made product to Benin.”
Benin is also looking at adopting best governance practices mainly in fight against corruption, service delivery and citizen participation from Rwanda to foster its economy that grew by 5.4% in 2012.
Accordingly, this creates an opportunity for Rwanda to export its human resources mainly in ICT thus increasing the country’s export receipts needed to offset trade deficit that staggers at 5.1% in the first half of 2016.
Rwanda will also utilize the opportunity of Benin’s cotton production for its growing textile sector as well as Benin’s extension to Atlantic coast.
Benin which is 4times the size of Rwanda, has a population of 10 million people compared to Rwanda’s 11 million people. Benin’s size of GDP is $22.542 billion (based on purchasing power parity) slightly higher than landlocked Rwanda’s $20.343 billion.