World Bank Group Executive Directors Visit Nepal, Discuss Federalism, Diversified Investment, And Reconstruction

Nov. 15, 2019, 11:54 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 13 No. 07 ,Nov.08 –28 , 2019(Kartik.22, 2076) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75 Publisher: Keshab Prasad Poudel

With the political stability and improvements of legislations, The World Bank has been showing growing interest to support Nepal's development sector, infrastructure and federalism.

In the recent years, the frequency of visits of The World Bank's team has recently increased. The recent visit of an eleven-member delegation of the World Bank Group Executive Directors (EDs) was one of the highly important ones.

The team visited Nepal from October 29 to November 1, to gain a comprehensive view of Nepal’s current development status and opportunities. The visit marked the 50th year of World Bank Group-Nepal engagement, with the first World Bank credit in Nepal approved by the board on November 4, 1969.The trip was part of a larger visit to the South Asia Region that will also include Bangladesh and Maldives.

The delegation of the Executive Directors include Kulaya Tantitemit (Executive Director, and Host for Nepal); Jorge Chavez Presa (Executive Director); Herve de Villeroche (Executive Director); Geir Haarde (Executive Director); Patrizio Pagano (Executive Director); DJ Nordquist (Executive Director); Jean-Claude Tchatchouang (Executive Director); Aparna Subramani (Executive Director); Merza Hasan (Executive Director); Gerard Antioch (Alternate Executive Director) and Nathalie Francken (Alternate Executive Director).

During their visit, the EDs met with representatives from federal and local governments, the private sector, development partners, and civil society. Discussions centered around Nepal’s transition to federalism, the need to invest in the country’s human capital, crowding in the private sector for diversified investment, the pace of reconstruction after the earthquakes in 2015, and the creation of jobs, especially for Nepal’s youth.

“Nepal has made progress in reduction of poverty and its stable government signals a smoother transition to the federal structure,” said Jorge Chavez Presa, Spokesperson of the Delegation and Executive Director for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain and Republican Bolivarian de Venezuela.

“However, to ensure stronger and more sustained growth, it needs rapid strengthening of institutions and systems. The World Bank Group is committed to help the Government of Nepal achieve its ambitious goals for the benefit of all Nepalis.”

The EDs’ conversations with Finance Minister of Nepal Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada, focused on leveraging World Bank Group-wide support for the federalism agenda, maximizing finance for development, and investing in health and education for the people of Nepal.

During the visit to an earthquake reconstruction site in Patlekhet of Kavrepalanchowk, the EDs learnt about the reconstruction program that supported rebuilding of more than 430,000 houses after the devastating earthquakes. The Government of Nepal’s larger rural housing reconstruction program aims to provide earthquake-resistant housing for around 700,000 beneficiaries.

The EDs also visited Incessant Rain Animation Studios, a Nepali studio exporting digital products to global cinema and gaming industry. They observed firsthand the retaining of young talent in the country and the disruptive technology in action.

To further understand investment scenarios and discuss ways for diversifying investment, the EDs met entrepreneurs and private sector representatives. In their discussions with policymakers and civil society representatives, the Directors continued the conversation about opportunities emerging in different sectors in federal Nepal and ways to expand and enhance their positive impact.

The World Bank Group has a strong partnership with Nepal, with 50 years of engagement since 1969. The current investment portfolio cuts across all key sectors in 25 projects and has a net commitment of $2.47 billion (as of September 2019).

World Bank Group Board of Directors: The World Bank Group Board members are collectively called the Executive Directors. The Board of Directors includes the President of the World Bank Group and 25 Executive Directors. Member countries of the World Bank Group appoint or elect Executive Directors to the Boards of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Directors to the Board of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). While the World Bank Group maintains four Boards for these separate arms, Executive Directors typically serve on all Boards simultaneously.

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