September 12, 2002

World Bank Support For Angola - Ibrahim Gambari Leads UN Mission Provisionally

World Bank (WB) Vice Chairman for Africa, Callisto Madavo, Wednesday, September 11, ensured Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, the support of his institution to the holding of an international conference for the country's reconstruction and development. "I assured the President that he can count on the World Bank support", Callisto Madavo told reporters at the end of an audience with the Angolan Head of State. Madavo on his two-day visit to Angola stated that they did not talk about money, but added that the World Bank will support the process of demobilization, reinsertion of the displaceds through reconstruction and government's efforts for the country's development. The WB top officer said that relations with Angola are excellent and its Director to the country will be designated soon. "I hope that the relations be strengthened. We are pleased. There will be new projects and I expect to present them to our administration by the end of this year", he said.

One day later, the WB spokeswoman in Luanda, Olinda Viera-Diaz emphasised the need for financial transparency: "The Bank is supportive of the government's economic recovery plans. However, it must be stressed that the transparent management of financial resources and combating corruption is crucial to any kind of reconstruction" she said. Earlier this month the rights group Global Witness alleged that over the past five years, at least US $1 billion had gone missing each year from the government's coffers. The figure represented about one-third of state income.

Viera-Diaz also said the Bank had noted the urgent need to assist former rebel UNITA soldiers and their families. "Following some very positive signs that the country is returning to stability, we expect to expand our presence in the country. We will continue to support the demobilisation and reintegration programme as well as the social action fund," she said. The social action fund is a community driven initiative which focuses on the building of schools, medical centres and community centres.

The Bank said it would also assist the government with drawing up a poverty reduction strategy. "We will help as much as we can, but the government and people of Angola must take the responsibility for their full economic recovery," Viera-Diaz said.

Two days earlier, United Nations Under Secretary General for African Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, was appointed to lead temporarily the UN Mission to Angola. It was announced in New York by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, at the end of a meeting with Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joćo Bernardo de Miranda.

During the gathering both interlocutors analysed, among others, issues related to humanitarian situation in Angola. According to Joćo Miranda, the UN Assistant SG will preside in Luanda meetings of government/Unita Joint Commission until designation of a UN Representative to Angola, whose preference is given to a portuguese speaking officer.

The Joint Commission, that is also comprised by Portugal, Russia and the US as observer countries, is in charge of supervising implementation of Lusaka Protocol pendent tasks that were not accomplished due to resume of war in 1992. Among such tasks are appointment of Unita officers for posts of Provincial Governors, Mayors and Ambassadors. (ANGOLA PRESS AGENCY / IRIN)

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