Bahai News - Church and World Bank Agree New Partnership in Africa
Church and World Bank Agree New Partnership in Africa
March 11, 2000
NAIROBI, March 10, 2000 -- The World Bank and a group of 150 Senior Christian
leaders from 20 African nations announced today that the Church and Bank
Plan to work more closely together to fight poverty and spur economic and
social development in Africa.
The agreement, unveiled at the end of a week-long poverty consultation near
the Kenyan capital chaired by the Archbishop of West Africa, marks the first
time the Bank has partnered on a regional level with the Church. Through the
new partnership, the Bank and Church will focus on other development issues
ranging from governance and corruption to gender equity and post-conflict
reconstruction, and aim to "break the conspiracy of silence on AIDS."
"We are preparing for this special year of the Jubilee by working with Church
leaders to place poverty on the forefront of the international agenda and
build on an international plan to relieve the debt of the world's poorest
countries worthy of a millennium celebration," said Callisto Madavo, vice-
president of the World Bank's Africa region. "This is the beginning of a
process that brings us together on the basis of our common concerns for
raising the incomes of the poor and promoting empowerment, security and
The Bank/Church partnership, which capped this week's meeting sponsored by
the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) and the Bank, combines
the Bank's global perspective on poverty with the Church's deep influence
among the urban and rural poor of Africa.
"We have all been delighted by our mutual enthusiasm and openness to explore
and develop this partnership", said the Archbishop of West Africa, the Most
Revd. Robert Okine, Chairman of CAPA. "We commit ourselves to develop our
partnership with passion, compassion and professionalism so that our joint
work produces results for the poor. We stand together for life and dignity".
The joint communique unveiled on Friday said that where possible, the Bank
and Church will cooperate with governments in testing the channeling of
development resources through Church programs. Pilot initiatives could take
place in a number of areas, such as building centers of compassion for
HIV/AIDS counseling and care, setting up rural and urban slum credit unions,
and providing basic services to communities.
The Bank will include the Church in national consultations on economic and
social policy issues and designs of poverty programs, and follow-up meetings
will be arranged on a national basis with the broadest Christian participation
possible. The Bank also aims to better understand Church involvement and
capacity in development in particular countries. During the next 24 months,
the Church and Bank will hold further consultations with African governments,
the private sector, and other international development institutions.
The joint communique lays out several areas where the Bank and Church aim
to work together, including:
· Women and Assets - If Africa is to achieve equitable growth and
sustainable development, gender inequality must be reduced. The Bank can
work with the Church to assess the impact of programs of both institutions
that are targeted to rural women especially and to enable men and women to
work together in mutually supportive partnership in the home and community.
· Children and Youth -- More than half of the people of many African
are under 15 years of age. The Church has experience with programs with
children and youths that it can offer on issues such as street children,
AIDS orphans, and children soldiers.
· Education and Health - The Church can partner with the Bank and others
in promoting life-skill training, civic education, and informal education
· HIV/AIDS - The Church can work with the Bank in influencing community
leaders, Church and national officials to break the conspiracy of silence
about HIV/AIDS. The Bank can provide data on a country-specific basis to
empower the Church to make the case about AIDS.
· Governance, Leadership and Corruption - The Bank and Church can empower
citizens to recognize their rights, improve performance in developing
accountable leaders, address corruption based on tribal and political
affiliation, and dissuade Western governments from giving tax breaks to
companies making illegal payments to African officials.
· Enterprise, Debt and Economic Growth - The Church should encourage
its parishioners with business expertise to work with capital markets, the
private sector and Bank in channeling resources to the poor, especially
through micro-enterprise development. New resources from debt relief should
be translated into direct benefits for the poor.
· Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Reconstruction - The Bank and
Church can work together to address the root causes of conflict, train
leaders in conflict transformation, enhance the role of women in the
peacemaking process, and launch programs to build the fabric of conflict
Working with the Churches is not entirely new for the Bank. For two years,
the Bank has consulted with the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD),
an Oxford-based grouping of world faith leaders from the Bahai, Buddhist,
Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths.
This week's meeting in Nairobi marks a major step forward in making that
cooperation a practical reality in the field. The World Bank plans to
hold a follow-up workshop with African Muslim leaders next year, and a
joint faiths conference the year after.
MEDIA CONTACT: Richard Thomas: Tel: Nairobi 891 201 Ext: 2562 Or UK: +44
(0)1865 208 224 Pager 01893 703279 Contacts: Archbishop David M Gitari,
Anglican Church of Kenya Tel: 254-02-714755 Canon Clement Janda, General
Secretary, All Africa Council of Churches Tel: 254-2-44-58-44 or 44-14-83
Mr. Robert Calderisi, World Bank Tel: 000-1-758-5235 in Nairobi Mr. Richard
Uku, World Bank (202) 473-3432 in Washington Mr. Eric Chinje, World Bank
(202) 458-8418 Dr. Agnes Abuom, President, World Council of Churches Tel:
254-02-71-3957 Mr. Christopher Kelade, Chairman, Cadbury's, Nigeria Tel:
234-1-262-3155 Mr. Yeboa Arnoa, Ghana Tel: 233-21-669912 (office) or
233-21-7010710 (home) Canon Dr. Vinay Samuel, Oxford Centre for Mission
Studies. Tel: 44 - (0) 1856 - 556071
Media Office: Richard Thomas, UK: +44 (0) 1865 208 224 Pager: 01893 703279
©Copyright 2000, World Bank
Page last updated/revised 031600
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page