China took part for the first time recently in World Bank meetings on the needs of some of Africa's poorest countries in what the Bank sees as an important shift in Beijing's role. China has a growing presence in Africa and has spent billions of dollars to secure raw materials to fuel galloping Chinese economic growth.
Overtaken as the largest funder of global HIV/Aids programmes, the World Bank is now focusing on easing the economic damage inflicted by the syndrome in Africa and finding ways of controlling its spread through better prevention, care and treatment. Global funding for HIV/Aids reached -billion in 2007 compared to ,6-billion available in 2001.
The World Bank on Monday unanimously approved Robert Zoellick as its president after a controversial two-year term by Paul Wolfowitz, who agreed to resign over a promotion scandal involving his companion. Zoellick, former United States deputy secretary of state and trade representative, was the only nominee for the job.
A day after Paul Wolfowitz resigned as World Bank president under an ethics cloud, the United States faced the tough task of healing rifts with Europeans and satisfying calls that his successor be picked on merit, not just nationality. Wolfowitz's resignation on Thursday followed pressure by European opponents.