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China Shores up WB's Leading Role in Poverty Reduction

The development experience of China will help the World Bank "shore up" its leading role in global poverty reduction, the bank's new chief economist and senior vice president Justin Yifu Lin said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Tuesday.

World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick on Monday announced the appointment of the Beijing University professor as chief economist and senior vice president for development economics.

"The World Bank can only consolidate its role as a leader in the global anti-poverty movement by coming up with effective measures," said Lin. "In this regard, China can provide useful experience."

Lin is the first economist from a developing country to hold the post in the World Bank. He succeeds France's Francois Bourguignon, who served at the bank from 2003 to October 2007.

Zoellick said in a statement, "As our first chief economist from a developing country, and an expert on economic development and particularly agriculture, Justin Lin brings a unique set of skills and experience to the World Bank Group."

Lin's posts in China include vice chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce. A professor at Beijing University since 1993, he is known for work on economic and agricultural reforms as well as rural modernization.

"This appointment is a high honor, and it's a historic decision for the World Bank," said Lin. "By picking a candidate from China, the World Bank will be able to better serve developing countries."

Poverty alleviation has always been a key objective for the World Bank. "Globalization must not leave the 'bottom billion' behind," said Zoellick in October last year. "The World Bank Group faces the challenge of helping to overcome poverty and spur sustainable growth in the poorest countries."

(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2008)

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