November 19: World Bank’s vice president for South Asia Region, Hartwig Schafer, reiterated the World Bank’s commitment to support Nepal in its ambitious transition to federalism, as he concluded a five-day visit to the country on Sunday, November 18.
During his meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Schafer congratulated the government’s visionary goal of reaching middle-income country status by 2030. The World Bank said in a statement that Schafer also reaffirmed the World Bank’s commitment to support government priorities, and to help the country raise additional finance from a broader range of sources.
In his meeting with Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj 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 prioritized broad-based reforms and private sector-driven growth, I am positive that Nepal can achieve higher growth rates for the next several years. To sustain such growth, we want to help Nepal mobilize investments from sources that go beyond traditional development finance. We call this approach Maximizing Finance for Development. Private sector investment will only come if there is a transparent, conducive policy environment,” he said, adding, “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 and more Nepalis, which is the need of the hour.”
The Vice President also had 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 the earthquake in the Majhi settlement of Gaikhura in Manthali Municipality, Ramechhap.
In Kathmandu, Schafer participated in the launch of a joint report of the World Bank Group entitled “Country Private Sector Diagnostic: Creating Markets in Nepal”. He was also part of the signing of two agreements between the Government of Nepal and the World Bank. The agreements, totaling US$ 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.