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FEATURE STORY December 27, 2019

Year in Review – Celebrating World Bank's partnership with Sri Lanka in 2019


12 highlights of Sri Lanka and the World Bank partnership in 2019!

1. Sri Lanka and the World Bank Partnered to Improve Healthcare Services


Sri Lanka and the World Bank joined hands to improve the Primary Health System in Sri Lanka. A loan agreement of a $200 million was signed between the parties. The project will benefit the people by

  1. Increasing the quality of Primary Healthcare service in Sri Lanka
  2. Increasing the ability to detect and prevent non-communicable diseases
  3. Responding to the changing health needs of the most vulnerable population of Sri Lanka


2. World Bank Vice President’s First Visit to Sri Lanka

Vice President, South-Asia Region, World Bank, Hartwig Schafer at the Press For Progress event in Colombo

The World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region, Hartwig Schafer visited Sri Lanka in February to understand the country's development priorities and the bank’s direction and support the country in fulfilling their priorities. In addition, he also engaged in #PressforProgress campaign, Launch of Sri Lanka Development Update and visited the World Bank funded project sites.


3. World Bank Group extends support in the aftermath of April 21st Attacks in Sri Lanka

The World Bank, Vice President for South Asia Region Hartwig Schafer & International Finance Corporation (IFC)  Vice President for Asia and Pacific Nena Stoiljkovic visited Sri Lanka in July to assure the continuous assistance of the World Bank to the country, Referring to the Easter Sunday terror attacks and its impact on the economy, Hartwig Schafer said that the World Bank would extend the support to Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the challenges faced due to the 21 April terrorist attack.

Schafer, who also chaired the World Bank Senior Regional Managers Meeting, said that the Bank decided to hold its annual session in Colombo to show solidarity with Sri Lanka as the country is trying to restore normalcy after the Easter Sunday attack. Watch his video message here.

"The World Bank Group stands by the people of Sri Lanka. We send our message of support & commitment as they recover from the horrific attacks on Easter Sunday."
Hartwig Schafer
Vice President, South Asia Region

4. The Launch of Sri Lanka Development Update


Sri Lanka Development Update, the World Bank’s bi-annual macroeconomic publication was launched analyzing key developments in Sri Lanka’s economy over six months before the date of which the update was launched. The focus of this report has been to examine the challenges associated with a change in demographics composition.

In terms of demographic composition, the report highlighted that the shrinking working-age population will have an impact on the growth of the economy and affect pensions. The report further stated that creating an environment that encourage entrepreneurship, education, and female labor force participation will be helpful to turn this transition into a positive demographic transition


5. Increased Exports in Sri Lanka Can Improve Jobs, Raise Wages

The World Bank together with the International Labor organization launched the Exports to Jobs: Boosting the Gains from Trade in South Asia” report. The report uses a novel way to estimate the relationship between exports and their effect on labor markets. The analysis has been carried out using the data collected through household level or worker level surveys and trade data from India and Sri LankaAccording to the study, by increasing and helping workers to obtain necessary skills can lead to better jobs and higher wages in Sri Lanka including more formal jobs for women.


6. Through the Lens: Celebrating Women at Work on International Women’s Day

To conclude the World Bank’s year-long campaign to #PressforProgress for more and better jobs for women in Sri Lanka, the World bank and the Colombo Municipal Council together with partners launched a photographic competition for female photographers. About 79 female photographers across the country submitted over 600 photographs under the theme #PressforProgress for More and Better Jobs for Sri Lankan Women

17 photographers were shortlisted, and the final exhibition was held in New Town Hall along with a Mobile exhibition in tuk-tuks.


7. Biologist, Asha de Vos shares her thoughts at the World Bank Annual Meeting

Asha de Vos, a well-known Sri Lankan marine biologist and the founder of Oceanswell participated in the World Bank Annual meeting 2019. She was a part of the ‘Plastic pollution in South Asia' panel discussion. She also participated in the Global Voices Interview Series at the Annual meeting talking about Blue Whales and protecting our seas.

8. Climate-Smart Agriculture to improve Resilience and Productivity in Sri Lanka

The World Bank Sri Lanka joined with the Government of Sri Lanka to develop the resilience and productivity of agriculture across six provinces that belong to the dry zone of the country. Around 470,000 farmers who live in climate hotspot areas are supported through the project. The support is given to increase their access to irrigation and to better manage the available water resources. Further, the farmers will be assisted to adopt climate-smart technologies that would increase agriculture productivity and improved access to market


9. World Bank Supports Infrastructure Services in Sri Lanka


A 25$ million loan agreement was signed between Sri Lanka and the World Bank to create a competitive platform that would encourage Public-Private partnerships that enable the Government of Sri Lanka to connect with private sector to find private-sector financing in developing its important infrastructure and services.


10. World Bank to Improve Local Services in Sri Lanka


The World Bank and the Government of Sri Lanka came together to improve the quality of life of people live in Northern, North Central, Eastern and Uva Provinces. The project will benefit  around one million people living in this area. The project will pave the way for local communities to involve in planning and delivering processes of essential services such as roads, healthcare, and sanitation through closer collaboration with local government authorities. A loan agreement of $70 Million has been signed between the parties.


11. Sri Lanka Strengthens Its Climate Resilience

As a part of the Multiphase project to strengthen the climate resilience in Sri Lanka, the World bank supports Sri Lanka to reduce and mitigate flood risks in the lower Kelani basin in Colombo and to develop weather forecasting and early warning systems across Sri Lanka. The project will support the entire nation with the new forecasting system. About 3.5 million people living river basins will further benefit with flood risk mitigation efforts.


12. Launch of Sri Lanka Human Capital Development: Realizing the Promise and Potential of Human Capital


Sri Lanka Human Capital Development Report was launched by the World Bank Sri Lanka. Using the Human Capital Index, the report analyses the life cycle of a person from birth to adulthood to understand the human capital of the country. According to the study, under the current health and education conditions, a child born in Sri Lanka today will be a little higher than half as productive as the child could have been if they had the benefit of complete education and received full health. With a score of 58% percent, Sri Lanka ranks as 74 out of the 157 countries considered in the index.