World Bank (WB) Group President Jim Yong Kim concluded a two-day visit to Romania, on May 9-10th, praising the country for its inclusive growth over the past two decades. He called on leaders to continue building a more competitive economy that benefits all parts of society, including the poorest, a press release informs. During his visit, first to Romania, Kim met with officials, including Prime Minister Victor Ponta and President Traian Basescu, as well as business representatives, students, civil society, and Roma representatives.“I am extremely pleased to be in Romania to celebrate the country’s successes in economic growth during the last 20 years,” Kim said. “Looking ahead, Romania faces many critical challenges. As Romania strives for sustainable growth and to catch up with many of the EU countries on living standards, productivity, and competitiveness, the challenge will be to manage change, which is always difficult. In practice, this means building a more competitive, faster growing, and inclusive economy that benefits all the people of Romania.” He continued: “Despite good progress achieved by the government, Romania remains the country with the highest poverty levels in the European Union. More than 30 pc of the population lives on less than USD 5 per day. I would like to draw attention to those who live on so little, including the Roma population here in Romania and elsewhere in Europe. I believe that it is a moral imperative for all governments to put in place safety nets for the poorest and to invest in the education and health care of those most in need.” WB President Kim commended Romania for maintaining budget discipline during tough economic times.
He was pleased to point out that, together with the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the WB helped with the macroeconomic stabilization of Romania through financial and technical assistance.In particular, he noted support for improvements in public administration and continuing and deepening reforms in health and education, where the WB is working closely with the Romanian authorities. Kim also discussed the WB’s forthcoming strategy for Romania that will cover the 2014-2018 interval and will determine the Bank Group’s further engagement and contribution to the economic and social development of Romania.