Africa called top challenge for World Bank

May 28, 2007 at 12:40 PM

WASHINGTON, May 28 (UPI) -- Outgoing World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz says reducing poverty in Africa is the most important challenge the bank faces over the next five years.

In an interview with the BBC, Wolfowitz said Africa has been left behind in what has been spectacular development success in other regions such as eastern Asia and India.

According to Wolfowitz, if the World Bank fails to deliver for Africa in the next five years, nothing else matters.

Regarding his decision to step down from his post June 30, the World Bank chief said the media played a major role in his resignation.

"People were reacting to a whole string of inaccurate statements and by the time we got to do anything approximating accuracy the passions were around the bend," Wolfowitz said.

He denied lingering personal antipathy against him had contributed to his decision to leave.

"I think it tells us more about the media than about the bank and I'll leave it at that," he said.

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