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21.03.2004 General News

Asanteman Council honours James Wolfensohn

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Kumasi, March 21, GNA - Mr James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, has commended the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II for his dedication and commitment to the development and well-being of his people.

He said the world has a lot to learn from the wisdom and ingenuity of the Asantehene, who had combined traditional leadership and modernity to promote social justice, development and unity among his people. Mr Wolfensohn made the commendation at a mini durbar held in his honour by the Asanteman Council at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on Sunday.

He was accompanied to the palace by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Regional Integration and NEPAD, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr S.K. Boafo, World Bank Vice-President, Mr Callitos Madavu, World Bank Country Director, Marcus Carson and other officials from the World Bank. The durbar was to show appreciation and convey the special thanks of Asanteman to Mr Wolfensohn and the bank for its imaginative and positive response to the request made by the Asantehene, that the bank involves traditional authorities in the design, execution and monitoring of development projects executed in the country.

The response had resulted in the formulation and approval of a novel and innovative project by the Bank captioned "Promoting Partnerships With Traditional Authorities", the first of its kind in the world, which is currently being undertaken in Asanteman.

Mr Wolfensohn said the bank had a lot of respect and dignity for the Asantehene and was impressed by how he was combining colourful traditional leadership and culture to promote education, health and economic well-being of his subjects.

He said Otumfuo's role in HIV/AIDS prevention and child education had received recognition among many people and pledged the bank's continued support to the Asantehene to carry out his developmental efforts.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu said the involvement of traditional leaders and their people in the bank's operations was a logical extension of the bank's own evaluation of actors other than its conventional partners and the recognition of the importance of innovative mechanisms for reinforcing the development endeavours of its clients.

He assured the bank that the Asanteman Council would do all in its power to make the project succeed so that it would be replicated in other parts of the country and Africa.

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