WB reluctant to involve India in helping Africa

New Delhi, November 3:

The World Bank (WB) appears reluctant to involve India in the International Development Association (IDA) in helping out countries like Libera in Africa.

“On the one hand I welcome the participation of developing countries like India. But then there are nearly the same number of poor people in Africa as in India,” World Bank president Robert B Zoellick said after meeting Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh today.

He had been asked about India’s role in helping out poorer nations of Africa. “I do believe India has a larger role to play,” Zoellick said when asked about India’s standing in the global community.

He mentioned ‘inclusive development infrastructure and energy’ as the areas that came up in his discussion with the Indian prime minister.

Zoellick also met Indian finance minister P Chidambram, commerce minister Kamal Nath and minister of state for labour Oscar Fernandes. The World Bank chief, who was in India for last two days, spent almost the entire Friday in Mumbai visiting and inspecting the World Bank aided projects there. These included building flats for slum dwellers in Dharavi.

Asked about it, he said, “In Mumbai we have invested in transport sector, both railway and roads. While working on the Western Express Highway we had to contend with the people living close to the highway”.

Giving credit to the Maharashtra government for this, Zoellick said the state government came up with the project of having small flats for the people living there with modest facilities like sanitation, healthy cooking and a sense of belonging.

He said, “I participated in their social activity. A woman told me she could get married now because she now has an address. This is the best example of how the bank can help in inclusive development.