Zoellick told a Washington conference that development assistance needs to be carefully targeted. The World Bank president spoke against aid fatigue and warned that fragile states can become fragile regions that threaten global security. He said the world's poorest countries must not be neglected.
Speaking of Afghanistan, Zoellick said opium-traffickers and legitimate government can not co-exist. He said the experience of Colombia has shown that narco-regimes will gradually take over legitimate governments. He called on the Afghan authorities to do more to combat the opium trade.
"The income from drugs is concentrated near the top of the pyramid. Roughly 80 percent of their export value goes to less than 15,000 traffickers and traders, while the remaining 20 percent is spread out over 350,000 farming families. Now, this suggests to me needs to target both law enforcement and rural development," he said.
In Haiti, in the Caribbean, Zoellick said donors must reduce the administrative burden they impose on a very weak state. "Haiti was the site of too many feel-good projects draped in national flags. Haiti's partners paid too little attention to governance, anti-corruption and building the legitimacy of the government," he said.
Turning finally to Liberia, Zoellick praised the government's commitment to economic development. He said donors should front-load their aid projects so that assistance quickly reaches the population.
"As President Johnson-Sirleaf told me, a dollar today is worth much more to us than 50 dollars in three years. But the development business as usual too often calls for a strait-jacket of track records clearances that take too long."
Zoellick said Liberia, Haiti and Afghanistan are in some ways typical of the fragile, poor, post-conflict countries where the World Bank last year spent $3 billion to promote development.