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Source: World Bank
18 September 2003


Al-Ram, September 18, 2003—The World Bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Shengman Zhang, visited the West Bank and Israel on a two-day mission on 17-18 September. Mr. Zhang’s visit underscored the Bank’s commitment to supporting Palestinian economic development and promoting an enabling environment for economic recovery.

In a meeting with Prime Minister designate, Mr. Ahmed Qu’rei, Mr. Zhang lauded the Palestinian Authority for its progress on the reform agenda, particularly in the financial sphere. He discussed the ongoing cooperation between the World Bank, donors and key Palestinian ministries in the preparation of the 2004 Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan, commending the PA for its leadership of this critical exercise. Mr. Zhang also met with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert and Minister of Industry and Trade and Mr. Yoav Beran, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meetings with Israeli officials focused on exploring possibilities for economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.

On the second day of his visit, Mr. Zhang visited a number of World Bank-supported projects in Bethlehem, Bir Nabala and Ramallah. The projects visited reflected the dual focus of Bank activities, in which the Bank seeks to balance short-term emergency needs while retain a strong focus on longer-term development and institution building. These projects were carried out in cooperation with Palestinian municipalities and non-governmental organizations.

Mr. Zhang toured the Abu Rayya Rehabilitation Centre, where the Bank helped set up the only specialized service for the treatment and rehabilitation of children with spinal cord injuries—an example of Bank’s partnership with NGOs. Mr. Zhang’s participation in the Local Aid Coordination Committee and his meeting with representatives of the private sector reflected the importance the Bank places on donor coordination, and its support for an active role for the private sector in Palestinian economic recovery.

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