SOFIA, May 6, 2012 — Nine Board Members representing 72 member countries of the World Bank’s Group Board* visited Bulgaria to see first hand how the unique knowledge partnership with the Government is evolving.
The Executive Directors’ (EDs) visit comes one year after a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Bulgaria was discussed at the Board and just several months after the Government of Bulgaria and the World Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to step up knowledge and advisory services. The MoU marks an important shift in their 20-year partnership toward a greater focus on supporting Bulgaria’s absorption of EU funds and the National Reform Program. This EU-centered partnership has been increasingly building on a close collaboration with the European Commission (EC), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In the first phase, the World Bank will deliver, on a cost-recovery basis, knowledge and advisory services in the areas of roads, water, innovation, and social inclusion.
The Board Members who represent nearly half of the voting power on the Board, met with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Simeon Djankov, and Governor of Bulgarian National Bank Ivan Iskrov to discuss Bulgaria’s goal of achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Bulgarian Minister of EU Funds Management Tomislav Donchev also briefed the EDs on the newly established knowledge partnership aimed at developing and implementing strategies and projects under Operational Programs financed by EU Structural Funds.
The delegation met with the Parliamentary Committees on Budget and Finance and on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, where MPs voiced their support for the World Bank’s evolving role aimed at enabling Bulgaria to benefit from its EU membership. In other meetings, the group also heard from members of think tanks, private sector and NGOs on their views about Bulgaria’s social and economic challenges.