900 million USD in World Bank aid for Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 October 2008, 14:52 GMT]
The World Bank will give Sri Lanka 900 million dollars in aid under its new four-year country assistance strategy aimed at achieving "more balanced and equitable growth" press reports said. World Bank country director Naoko Ishii said one of the aims of the country assistance strategy (CAS) aid to the island riven by protracted ethnic conflict is to expand economic opportunities in "lagging regions" in the interests of "inclusive and equitable" economic development, reports said.

The bulk of the aid, about 40 percent, will go to improve connectivity, especially rural roads linking farmers with markets, LBO quoted Ishii as saying.

About 30 percent of the aid will be for conflict affected areas but projects will be cancelled if the war prevents them being implemented, she told a news conference Monday.

The CAS for the years 2009 to 2012 will see greater focus on community-based development projects, support for small business, and encouragement of public-private partnerships in infrastructure building.

Ishii said one of the aims of the CAS is to expand economic opportunities in "lagging regions" in the interests of "inclusive and equitable" economic development, reports said.

She was referring to regions away from the capital Colombo that have lagged far behind in economic growth and poverty alleviation, LBO explained.

"The second objective is to improve the investment climate and competitiveness to accelerate economic growth."

Claus Astrup, senior economist of the bank, said the CAS tries to improve the investment climate and confidence in the island economy.

He said there was a need to have a stable macro-economic environment to allow Sri Lanka to attract investments from abroad and about the burden current high inflation is placing on the population, particularly wage earners.


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