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Remarks on the Nomination of Robert B. Zoellick To Be President of the World Bank

May 30, 2007

The President. Good morning. I thank Secretary of Treasury Paulson for joining us today. I'm pleased to announce that I will nominate Bob Zoellick to be the 11th President of the World Bank.

Bob Zoellick has had a long and distinguished career in diplomacy and development economics. It has prepared him well for this new assignment. He is a committed internationalist. He has earned the trust and support of leaders from every region of the world. He is deeply devoted to the mission of the World Bank. He wants to help struggling nations defeat poverty, to grow their economies, and offer their people the hope of a better life. Bob Zoellick is deeply committed to this cause.

Since the end of the Second World War, the advance of trade and technology has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Some call this globalization; I call it the triumph of human liberty, stretching across national borders. Every day, the expansion of trade creates tremendous new opportunities for people. Unfortunately, too many people are shut out from these opportunities, especially the nearly 1 billion men, women, and children who live on less than $1 a day. Bob Zoellick understands that there are about 1 billion men, women, and children who live on less than $1 a day, and he's committed to doing something about it.

The United States has a moral and national interest in helping poor and struggling countries transform themselves into free and hopeful societies. The job of the World Bank is to help reduce poverty and raise living standards in the poorest nations. The Bank does this by helping these nations strengthen good government, develop sound financial markets, uphold property rights, and combat corruption.

The United States is the Bank's largest donor. And the reason we are, is because we believe that it is essential to help developing nations build growing economies that will provide jobs and opportunities for all their citizens.

Bob Zoellick brings a wealth of experience and energy to this task. Over the past three decades, he's held important posts in government, business, and higher education. And in these posts, he has worked on issues ranging from German unification, Latin American debt relief, to the transition of post-Soviet economies.

For the past 6 years—or most of the past 6 years—he has served as a member of my Cabinet. As the United States Trade Representative, he helped bring China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization, launched the Doha round of trade talks at the WTO, and significantly increased the number of U.S. free trade agreements.

Bob has had a strong voice for Africa. He's helped implement the African Growth and Opportunity Act that has increased America's trade with that continent.

He has served on the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an initiative designed to change the way we deliver foreign aid. In 2005, I asked Bob to serve as the Deputy Secretary of State. In that role, he managed a global staff of 57,000 people; he played a leading role in our engagement with China; and he traveled frequently to Darfur and southern Sudan to help find a path for peace. Most recently, he has been vice chairman international at Goldman Sachs. In short, it would probably be easier to list all the jobs Bob hasn't had.

This man is eminently qualified, and when he takes his place at the World Bank, he will replace another able public servant, Paul Wolfowitz. Paul is a man of character and integrity. Under his leadership, the World Bank increased its support for the world's poorest countries to a record $9.5 billion in 2006. Half of this money goes to sub-Sahara Africa. It's home to some of the poorest folks. As Paul has helped steer more resources to these countries, he has instituted reforms designed to make sure that these resources are used wisely and achieve good results.

Paul took control over the World Bank at a critical moment. He's taken many steps to ensure that the Bank can meet the needs of developing nations in this new century. These steps include strengthening the Bank's role in combating malaria. These steps include establishing a rapid response in fragile-states policy to respond more quickly to nations recovering from crisis or war. These steps include the Clean Energy Investment Framework, a Bank initiative designed to help bring cleaner and more efficient technologies to developing countries.

In these and many other ways, Paul Wolfowitz has made the World Bank a more effective partner for development. I thank him for his dedication to the poor and his devotion to the good work of the World Bank.

Bob Zoellick is the right man to succeed Paul in this vital work. He's a leader who motivates employees. He builds a constituent support and focuses on achieving goals. I'm pleased that he has, once again, agreed to serve our country.


[At this point, President-designate Zoellick made brief remarks.]

The President. Thanks, Bob. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:02 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of President-designate Zoellick.

George W. Bush, Remarks on the Nomination of Robert B. Zoellick To Be President of the World Bank Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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