Business Times

World Bank assistance may double to Sri Lanka

Visiting World Bank Managing Director, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Friday announced plans in which Sri Lanka will receive increased support from the development institution, saying it was eligible for assistance from the IBRD, the Bank’s lending arm for middle-income countries in addition to the current assistance from the IDA.

Under this, Sri Lanka could receive more than double the amount of resources available to the country every year, currently close to $200 million annually from IDA. The move came after Dr. Okonjo-Iweala met President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal, along with other senior officials and spoke at the Central Bank’s 60th anniversary commemorations, during which she reaffirmed the World Bank’s strong and expanding support to Sri Lanka as it transitions towards a middle-income country in lasting peace.

“Sri Lanka’s remarkable rise from past challenges is a testament to the tenacity of the Sri Lankan people and the commitment of the country’s leadership,” said Dr. Okonjo-Iweala. “Eligibility for IBRD borrowing is an important recognition of Sri Lanka’s middle income country status and signals an important step in the evolution of our relationship going forward – a relationship that is founded on knowledge and experience-sharing that complements the available financing.”

Conveying the news on IBRD financing to President Rajapaksa, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala reiterated the World Bank’s commitment to Sri Lanka, especially in supporting programs designed to encourage inclusive growth throughout the country. “She also noted the World Bank’s willingness to increase support to complement the ambitious development aspirations of doubling per capita income and growth in excess of 8%, which will be aided by increasing private investment from both foreign and domestic sources as envisioned in the Mahinda Chintana, the Government’s vision for future development,” according to a statement issued by the Bank.

President Rajapaksa conveyed his appreciation to the World Bank for providing support to complement the country’s development goals and noted that he looks forward to working with the Bank on the implementation of the Mahinda Chintana.

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