WB to support country’s development goals

Kathmandu, November 18

World Bank’s Vice President for South Asia Region Hartwig Schafer reiterated the bank’s commitment to support Nepal in its ambitious transition to federalism, as he concluded a five-day visit to country.

During his meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Schafer congratulated the government’s visionary goal of reaching middle-income country status by 2030, reaffirmed the World Bank’s commitment to support government priorities, and pledged to help the country raise additional finance from a broader range of sources.

In his meeting with Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada, Schafer also discussed further support to the federalism transition, as well as the planned International Investors’ Conference in 2019 in support of Nepal’s agenda to crowd in private

finance for development.

“With a stable government that has prioritised broad-based reforms and private sector-driven growth, I am positive that Nepal can achieve higher growth rates for the next several years,” he mentioned. “To sustain such growth, we want to help Nepal mobilise investments from sources that go beyond traditional development finance. We call this approach Maximising Finance for Development. Private sector investment will only come if there is a transparent and conducive policy environment,” he added.

“Nepal is one of the first countries where we are approaching this in a systematic way with the World Bank, IFC and MIGA coming in and helping to provide a platform for private investments in the energy, technology, and other sectors. This will also create jobs for more Nepalis, which is the need of the hour,” Schafer stated.

Schafer also held a joint field visit with Finance Minister Khatiwada and Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun to discuss the potential of tourism, hydropower and private sector investment in the country. The team visited Solukhumbu and Sankhuwasabha districts before seeing houses being rebuilt after earthquake in Majhi settlement of Gaikhura in Manthali municipality, Ramechhap.

During the visit Schafer met members of local communities, commending their resilience and efforts to build back better after the earthquake. He also met elected members of parliament and local level representatives. “It is heartening to see the

collective effort of so many actors to ensure that people’s homes and lives are rebuilt,” he said.

“We must pick up the pace of reconstruction, and also ensure that disaster risk reduction measures are put in place to deal with future contingencies.”

The World Bank has provided a credit of $500 million to the government through the Earthquake Housing Reconstruction Project.

In Kathmandu, Schafer participated in the launch of a joint report of the World Bank Group titled ‘Country Private Sector Diagnostic: Creating Markets in Nepal’. He was also part of the signing of two agreements between the government and World Bank. The agreements, totalling $155.7 million, will be invested in the construction and maintenance of safe, resilient and cost-effective bridges in Nepal, and in improving food security of vulnerable households and communities.

In his first visit to Nepal as the World Bank Vice President for South Asia, Schafer also met with opinion leaders, senior government officials and civil society representatives. In engaging with the private sector, he visited Saral Urja Nepal, the investee clients of Business Oxygen (BO2), an IFC SME-Venture Fund, and Incessant Rain Animation Studios.