Washington, DC (BBN) – The World Bank chief will start a three-nation African tour from the next week to encourage investor and donor to help the world’s poorest continent cope with the global economic crisis.

During visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick Zoellick will see up-close some of the damage the financial crisis has wrought on these three countries of Africa’s Great Lakes region, a World Bank press statement said on Thursday.

“Some of the biggest gains in fighting poverty in Africa can be made if investors and donors boost support for agriculture, helping Africa achieve food security, while improving rural incomes and facilitating post-harvest marketing, conservation and agricultural processing,” Zoellick said in the statement.

He also said the funding most urgently needed should help expand Africa’s share of global and intra-African trade, foster regional integration, curb armed conflicts, and build the crucial infrastructure in energy, transport and irrigation to promote manufacturing and industrialization on the continent.

The World Bank president is visiting Africa within weeks of the Group of 20 Summit in Pittsburgh in September. World Bank Group support for Africa is mainly provided through the International Development Association (IDA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC).

BBN/SS/SI/AD-07August09-12:59 am (BST)