The Sri Lankan economy has seen robust annual growth at 6.4 percent over the course of 2003 to 2012. Almost five years after the end of the three-decade civil conflict, Sri Lanka is now focusing on long-term strategic and structural development challenges as it strives to transition to an upper middle income country.
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THIMPHU, BHUTAN, February 27, 2015—The World Bank Group (WBG) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Development Fund (SDF) announced that they have forged a multi-year partnership t... Show More +o design and implement SDF’s Social Enterprise Development Program (SEDP) in eight SAARC countries. The partnership aims to improve the quality and delivery of basic services to the poorest and underserved populations across South Asia by combining finance, global knowledge, and capacity development support for 100 social enterprises that will receive grants of USD 100,000 to 250,000 per enterprise. Thereafter, SDF will provide finance to these enterprises to enable them to scale their impact.“With SAARC Development Fund as a strategic partner in the South Asia region, the World Bank Group has a great opportunity to collaborate and connect countries with global knowledge and learning to improve service delivery to the poor,” said Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President, Leadership, Learning and Innovation, World Bank Group. “We believe that SDF can play a unique role in identifying and scaling of innovative social enterprises in the eight countries in South Asia, as well as enabling their replication.”Social enterprises use private sector approaches to improve human well-being and are often highly efficient in delivering services in hard to reach communities. The WBG will leverage its 15 years of experience in implementing the Development Marketplace, a program that identifies and strengthens social enterprises and replicates those initiatives that have proven to be successful.“From mobile clinics to community banking, South Asia is home to many social enterprises that are doing a great job at filling service delivery gaps that cannot be met through traditional means,” said Mr. Karma, CEO of SDF. “We are thrilled to partner with the World Bank Group that has a unique experience in supporting social enterprises to maximize the positive impact they can have on society.”About the World Bank Group’s Development MarketplaceThe World Bank Group’s Development Marketplace (DM) is a multifaceted program dedicated to identifying, supporting, and scaling innovative business models from social entrepreneurs in order to improve service delivery to the low-income population, thereby contributing to the WBG’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The program leverages a competition platform to help surface innovative business models and provides knowledge and capacity building to governments and social entrepreneurs to enhance their ability to reach the most marginalized segments of society. About the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Development FundThe South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and regional organization of eight countries in the South Asian region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Its SAARC Development Fund (SDF) is the umbrella financial institution of SAARC that engages in the implementation of projects and programs under three funding windows: social, economic, and infrastructure. Through the SDF, SAARC aims to fulfill many of the greater development goals throughout the South Asia region. Show Less -
Colombo, February 24th, 2015 — World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region Annette Dixon said the Bank would partner with the government to help shape and implement policies aimed at reducing ... Show More +poverty, improving shared prosperity and promoting sustainable growth. During her visit, Dixon met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, the Finance Minister, and the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs. The President Maithripala Sirisena outlined his priorities for Sri Lanka’s development agenda and confirmed that the Bank’s ongoing portfolio and pipeline of projects were in line with the country’s development priorities. Dixon expressed the Bank’s support for the implementation of the reforms for strengthening good governance, transparency and accountability as outlined in the government’s 100 day plan.“The Government has laid out an ambitious reform agenda aimed at improving governance, transparency and accountability and establishing strong institutions for that purpose within its first 100 days. This is no small feat and the Bank stands ready to provide support to the government to help achieve these goals.” Dixon said as she concluded her first visit to Sri Lanka since her appointment as a World Bank Vice President in December 2014.During her stay in the country, Dixon visited rural Sri Lanka to observe one of many successful Bank-financed community-based development and livelihood improvement interventions. Later, she interacted with small tea holders benefitting from a project, funded by the World Bank Group’s private sector arm IFC, which provides index-based weather insurance. Her visit to a global IT services provider and a private university specialized in providing IT knowledge and skills gave her a perspective of the growing demand for skills based learning and outcomes.The Bank’s engagement in the education sector has been comprehensive across primary, secondary, tertiary levels and includes overall skills development. The latest project under preparation is in the area of early childhood development, and Dixon visited a number of preschool facilities in the outskirts of Colombo to get a deeper understanding of the issues in this sector. Dixon also had the opportunity to visit the sites of the Metro Colombo Project that supports urban flood reduction and disaster mitigation and the ancient Dutch Port under the Strategic Cities Development Project, Bank interventions that aim at tackling the challenges of urbanization. During the insightful discussions she had with the private sector, civil society representatives and other development partners, Dixon shared that the World Bank Group is examining the constraints and opportunities for ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in Sri Lanka through the preparation of a Systematic Country Diagnostic. This exercise, she explained, is a part of the World Bank Group’s new model for engagement with country partners and will inform future programming. Dixon also underscored the World Bank Group’s willingness and commitment to serve the people of Sri Lanka. Background informationThe World Bank’s total net commitments in Sri Lanka stand at $1.7 billion (as of Jan. 15, 2015). Currently the Bank is active in fourteen projects throughout the country. The partnership in Sri Lanka which spans sixty years has been focused on bringing global best practices to the country and providing technical assistance to improve the quality of life of the people.The World Bank Group’s private sector development arm, IFC, focuses on access to finance, infrastructure, tourism, and agribusiness, prioritizing balanced regional growth. As of January 2015, IFC's total committed portfolio stood at $552 million, including a US$250 million investment mobilized from partner institutions. Show Less -