World Bank President Calls on Egyptians to Take on Challenges Before Other Arab Countries Do

The World Bank President and former US commercial attaché, Robert Zoellick, called on Egyptians to take on the challenges that their country is facing and that consist of creating new job opportunities before other Arab countries that have not obtained good services from the Bank do so.

He said that he would try to find out how to work with some of these Arab governments and the private sector in these countries to facilitate development and create new job opportunities.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Zoellick mentioned that some of these governments have already changed their methods and are trying to carry out economic reform to create new employment and eventually – and more importantly – achieve social development.

These declarations came while the Israeli Minister of Trade and Industry, Eliyahu Bichai, was in Egypt to discuss the reduction of the Israeli component in Egyptian textile exports to the US by virtue of the QIZ agreement. Zoellick pointed to his role in this agreement.

He mentioned the last thing he did as a commercial attache in 2004 was meeting with the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, Rashid Mohamed Rashid, and the then Israeli Trade Minister Ehud Olmert. The meeting was aimed at setting up new industrial qualified zones known as QIZ.

Zoellick added: “What I have not been able to forget so far is that, while I was leaving Cairo after that meeting, two demonstrations were underway.

One was being staged by around 300 intellectuals objecting to the conclusion of this Egyptian-Israeli agreement, while the other was organized by thousands of workers demanding that more areas in Egypt be included in the QIZ agreement”.

“They wanted job opportunities” he said, pointing out that this example showed that economic development and new employment are necessary to improve relations