Promoting regional integration
Regional integration and economic cooperation can enhance the prospects for poverty reduction and shared growth. Yet South Asia remains one of the least integrated regions. A $150 million Regional Connectivity Project aims to improve conditions for Bangladesh’s trade with Bhutan, India, and Nepal through improving connectivity, reducing logistics bottlenecks, and supporting the adoption of modern approaches to border management and trade facilitation.
Supporting policy reforms
The Bank supports countries’ reform agendas, particularly focusing on enabling the creation of markets and improving the efficiency of the public sector at the national and subnational levels. For example, in Pakistan, the World Bank is supporting the government’s energy policy to reduce the cost of electricity production and to improve the financial sustainability of the power sector through a series of Power Sector Reform Development Credits, investment operations, and technical assistance.
The World Bank is partnering with the United Nations to confront the challenges of forced displacement. For example, the Bank is augmenting its programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan that support refugees, internally displaced people, returnees, and host communities. It also approved operations designed to support vulnerable people in these countries, such as the $228 million Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project, which aims to reduce poverty and enhance living standards by strengthening community development councils. A $100 million loan for the Pakistan National Social Protection Program will strengthen the national social safety net system and enhance access to social services for the poor.
Producing knowledge for improved competitiveness
The Bank published several important reports on South Asia this fiscal year. Competitiveness of South Asia’s Container Ports: A Comprehensive Assessment of Performance, Drivers, and Costs provides unprecedented analysis of the situation at the region’s ports and the steps needed for improvement, including building greater private sector participation, improving the governance of port authorities, and creating more competition within and between ports. South Asia’s Turn: Policies to Boost Competitiveness and Create the Next Export Powerhouse examines the region’s potential to boost the productivity and competitiveness of firms, and recommends reforms and investments
Last Updated: Aug 03, 2017