World Bank pledges support to Kenya on refugee repatriation

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The World Bank is seeking innovative ways to support the establishment of economic zones that will create employment in refugee areas.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the bank would like to support Kenya manage the repatriation of refugees in a dignified manner that will turn the Dadaab area into a vibrant economic zone.

Kim was speaking in Nairobi during a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI).

He said the World Bank is committed to a program that will fast-track support to Kenya on Dadaab, adding that the bank is putting together a fund that blends International Development Association with grant funding to support refugees in developing countries.

“The program would provide support for the establishment of an economic zone, create jobs in the host community and encourage cross border trade,” the World Bank President said.

President Kenyatta outlined the rationale for Kenya’s decision to close down the Dadaab refugee camp.

“When human beings are caged in a camp for more than 20 years with few prospects to realize their aspirations the situation becomes a breeding ground for discontent and they become vulnerable to recruitment into criminal groups like the Al Shabaab,” President Kenyatta said.

Kim said the World Bank understands Kenya’s concerns on the Dadaab refugees and supports its approach in addressing the issue.
He welcomed President Kenyatta to a major summit the will be held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month where discussions on refugees will feature prominently.

“The World Bank is seeking to ensure that the focus of those discussions is not just on the impact of displacement on Europe but also on Kenya and other countries in the developing world,” Kim said.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US President Barack Obama have called two high-level summits in New York in September to discuss the issue of refugees.

President Kenyatta also met Yury Fedetov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and discussed ways of countering drug trafficking based on building regional initiatives.

The Head of State also held talks with African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina that focused on private sector involvement in Kenya’s infrastructure development.