ISLAMABAD/KARACHI

World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim concluded a two-day visit to Pakistan on Wednesday by urging the country to speed up its economic reforms, and also encouraging the private sector to play a bigger role in creating jobs, especially for youth and women.

On the second day of his visit, Kim met with students, women entrepreneurs and other representatives of the private sector in Karachi, whom he told that they could all play a role in strengthening the country’s economy and helping the government improve the investment climate, says a press statement issued by the World Bank.

“Over the last two days, I have been impressed by the achievements of the people of Pakistan, and would encourage the country to be more ambitious in reforming its economy so that more people are lifted out of poverty and prosperity is more widely shared,” Kim said, adding, “I had excellent talks with the country’s leaders and people on strengthening the role of the private sector in job creation, accelerating energy reforms, making improvements in health and education sectors at the community level, and ensuring that the benefits of anti-poverty measures reach the poor people.”

At a discussion, organised at the Institute of Business Administration on “Social Innovation and Inclusion”, Kim praised the role of emerging female entrepreneurs and said youth were a great asset for Pakistan’s development. He assured the students, faculty members, media and female entrepreneurs that the WBG would continue to support skills development and creation of quality jobs for youth and women.

“Evidence shows that when women have greater control over household funds, or agricultural resources, it can have significant payoffs. At a time when the world is looking for additional drivers of growth, there’s an untapped market out there that everyone should invest in more: women,” said Kim. “The number of young people in Pakistan is growing rapidly and so job creation is a priority, and this is where the private sector can play a huge role.” he added.

In Karachi, Kim met with political leaders, who told him about the reforms agenda and the development priorities of the province. In the meetings, ideas were exchanged on how the World Bank could help the province in effectively completing its projects.

In Karachi, World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim yesterday extended support to the provincial government in health, human resource, renewable energy and urban development projects. He said this while talking to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah who briefed him about the steps taken by his government in different sectors and the challenges at the CM House.

World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah discussed the areas of cooperation and developing further partnership in different sectors.

CM told WB president that the poverty reduction, human development and economic growth were priorities of his government. The chief minister appreciated the support of World Bank as a major development partner for the socio-economic uplift of the province.

Dr Jim Yong Kim thanked Sindh Chief Minister for his warm welcome and hospitality.

"World Bank prioritizes human development, health improvements, and disease control and nutrition support world over for developing countries," he said and added that World Bank would continue its support for governance reforms, competitive businesses, improving infrastructure and social services particularly health, education and nutrition, in addition to agriculture, irrigation and others.

He said that World Bank would soon start its support to Sindh for formulation of Sindh Growth Strategy and complete the strategy for transformation of Karachi.