In February 2016, the World Bank Group (WBG) launched a series of consultations to hear feedback from a range of stakeholders (including general public and core policy makers) on the development priorities that should be the focus of WBG support. This feedback is expected to be valuable inputs for the preparation of the WBG’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Sri Lanka for the period July 2016 to June 2020.
The CPF is a strategic plan that defines the Word Bank Group’s support for the country’s development program for next four years. The CPF outlines the sectors to which the WBG will provide support and the instruments that it will use as the vehicle for such support over the period. It is anchored at the intersection of the Government’s priorities and the World Bank Group’s priorities for ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity as identified in the recently launched Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD). The CPF program is selective and will be informed by the WBG’s comparative advantage and outcome of the consultations with all stakeholders including the Government of Sri Lanka. The CPF is scheduled to be finalized by July 2016.
A team led by Françoise Clottes, Country Director in Sri Lanka, and Rolande Pryce, Operations Advisor and Team Leader of the preparation of the CPF, visited Matara, Galle, Jaffna, Batticaloa, Kandy and Colombo- to share an outline of some of the proposed areas the CPF could focus on, and to listen first hand to stakeholder feedback and suggestions on the development priorities to which the World Bank Group’s resources could be best allocated. A broad range of stakeholders participated in these consultations - including students, academia, NGOs, private sector (both large firms and small and medium enterprises), project beneficiaries, farmer groups, media, estate sector representatives and others. Online and social media platforms provided added avenues for interested persons to engage in the consultation process and share their views and perspectives.
Some highlights of the discussions so far: The following issues were raised consistently in all locations: Creating a conducive environment for the development of the private sector; improving access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises; improving vocational and skills training to facilitate the youth accessing better jobs; encouraging and facilitating the participation of women in the labour force and development process. Consultations also highlighted the need for in-depth analysis to inform customized solutions to address the regional disparities in the lagging regions, namely the former war torn areas of the North and East, the estates and Uva Province. In a focus group session on the estate sector, participants underscored the need for a holistic approach with the participation of all stakeholders including estate workers to address priority constraints to poverty reduction such as labour shortages and poor nutrition outcomes. In addition, balancing growth with the productive use and protection and proper management of Sri Lanka’s natural resources as well as the need for active management of urbanization were raised. To access more information and contribute to the ongoing development dialogue visit www.worldbank.lk and www.facebook.com/WorldBankSriLanka.
Sri Lanka is eligible to receive financing from both IDA and IBRD. The current active World Bank portfolio comprises 12 projects (10 IDA operations and 2 IBRD operations) with a total net commitment value of over $1.4 billion. Human development accounts for 33 percent of the overall portfolio followed by urban development (24 percent), water (21 percent) and resilience to climate and disaster risk (14 percent). Trust funds have continued to play an important role in implementing the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy in Sri Lanka, supporting both analytical work and technical assistance, as well as providing stand-alone or co-financing for projects. The portfolio currently comprises six recipient-executed trust funds with a total net commitment value of $54.4 million.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Sri Lanka is a priority country for IFC. With a committed portfolio of over $230 million in Sri Lanka, IFC covers projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and healthcare. IFC also provides advisory services to promote sustainable growth among small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to finance, and by offering capacity-building and training opportunities