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FEATURE STORY September 15, 2021

World Bank's Partnership with Malaysia

The World Bank has a long-standing relationship in Malaysia since its independence. Our partnership has evolved from development financing from the 1950s to the 1990s to leveraging the Bank's knowledge and research in it's current form of collaboration. In 2015, the Government invited the World Bank to open an office in Kuala Lumpur with a 5-year partnership under the Office Support Agreement (OSA) focused on disseminating Malaysia’s development experiences and policy innovations for the benefit of other countries; conducting original economic research; and sharing global experience and expertise in support of Malaysia’s development priorities. Today, the World Bank brands itself as an Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub - reflecting the development ambitions of Malaysia to achieve inclusive growth, greater shared prosperity and developed nation status; and to retain its global leadership role in the area of sustainable finance.

Our work with Malaysia consists of three core pillars:
  1. Inclusive and Sustainable Growth
    • Achieve high-income status through increased productivity growth with private sector innovations, human capital investments, and well-functioning labor market;
    • Ensure inclusiveness through efficient and shock-responsive social protection and balanced spatial development; and
    • Securing long-term fiscal stability and sustainability
  2. Sustainable and Inclusive Finance
    • Catalyze sustainable finance for climate action;
    • Strengthen financial inclusion and resilience outcomes; and
    • Leverage Islamic finance for sustainable development and inclusive growth
  3. Strengthening Governance
    • Upgrade transparency; accountability, and oversight in operations and policy-making; and
    • Build bureaucratic capacity.

Annual Report Financial Year 2021

The 2021 financial year was an exceptional year for the World Bank Group’s presence in Malaysia. It marked the beginning of our second phase of operations in Malaysia, running from 2021 to 2025, as the World Bank Group Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub in Malaysia. Our Annual Report looks back at the key highlights and activities undertaken by the Hub in the past year. Under our new phase of operations, we focus on three thematic areas:

  • Supporting Inclusive Growth
    As Malaysia is projected to transition into a high-income economy in the next few years, ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth will be a key focus of Government policies. In supporting the country’s shared prosperity agenda our knowledge and research work encompassed areas of growth and inclusion, private sector competitiveness, and human capital development. Read more about our work in this area here.
  • Promoting Sustainable and Islamic Finance
    Sustainable finance has become an increasingly important tool to support Malaysia’s vision of shared prosperity while achieving its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) commitments. Working with government counterparts and financial sector stakeholders, the World Bank continues its knowledge and research towards developing a sustainable, inclusive and resilient financial sector. Read more about our work in this area here.
  • Strengthening Governance
    Countries with strong institutions are more resilient, facilitate private sector growth, reduce poverty, deliver high-quality services, and earn the confidence of its citizens. Working towards enhancing these outcomes for Malaysia, we have continued developing new measures to improve public sector productivity, improve planning and fiscal management, and enhancing transparency in government institutions and operations. Read more about our work in this area here.

Annual Report Financial Year 2020

2020 was a year of transition for the World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Kuala Lumpur. Marking the end of its first five-year term of operations, the year saw the Hub prepare for its second phase of life in Malaysia as the World Bank Group Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub. With the COVID-19 pandemic beginning to pose a threat to Malaysia, the year was marked by a rapid response by the Hub towards providing support to the Malaysian government and its people in addressing this global pandemic. Looking ahead, the Hub continued its preparation for Malaysia’s transition into a high-income economy. As a year in transition, our Annual Report looks back on our work in first phase while looking ahead to the preparations for our second phase of operations.

Looking back on Phase 1

  • Pillar 1: Sharing Policy Innovations and Development Experiences
    Malaysia’s experience has given many opportunities to develop innovative policy solutions and provides important lessons for the developing world. In line with the Bank’s objectives of eliminating poverty and promoting shared prosperity, our work has supported equitable growth, enhanced finance, competitiveness and innovation, improved public sector management and boosted human capital development. Read more about our work in this area here.
  • Pillar 2: Learning Together for Global Solutions
    As a knowledge hub, we strived to create a conducive and collaborative environment for original economic research and analytical work. Our Development Economics Research Group (DECRG) and Development Economics Indicators Group (DECIG) have developed innovative economic and policy research, including the collection of primary data and research. Read more about our work in this area here.
  • Moving forward – The World Bank Group Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub in Malaysia
    Our new phase of operation commences in FY21. It marks the next stage of our engagement with the Government of Malaysia. Moving on from our start-up phase, our next stage of work reflects Malaysia’s evolving development ambitions focused on inclusive growth, greater shared prosperity and reinforcing its global role as a leader in sustainable finance. Read more about our plans ahead here.

Annual Report Financial Year 2019

The financial year kicked off with Malaysia beginning to navigate changes following a milestone General Election and change in government. While the country’s longer-term aspirations maintained, near-term priorities shifted towards expenditure rationalization and domestic resource mobilization. Continuing the Hub’s work as a knowledge and research hub, we intensified our efforts towards supporting the internal policy agenda of the country. We continued our work in line with our four thematic areas:

  • Theme 1: Supporting Equitable Economic Growth
    Our work in this area looked at improving inclusiveness and economic growth, enhancing regional integration, strengthening economic management and unleashing the potential of the digital economy. This has been supported by the World Bank Global Practices in Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment; Poverty and Equity; and Agriculture. Read more about our work in this area here.
  • Theme 2: Enhancing Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation
    Malaysia has successfully built resilient, inclusive and progressive financial systems and services which support its households, private sector firms and Government institutions. The Hub has continued to share these successful experiences with the other developing country, assisting them in their own reforms and development. At the same time, we continued our support of Malaysian stakeholders in the aspects of financial sector stability, reviewing development finance institutions (DFIs), green and Islamic finance, remittances and digital entrepreneurship. Read more about our work in this area here.
  • Theme 3: Enhancing Public Sector Management
    Public sector management and service delivery has drawn significant interest from countries around the world. Domestic stakeholders too have renewed their attention to this area, which the Hub has readily assisted by both providing insights and facilitating knowledge sharing with developing and OECD countries. Our work in enhancing public sector performance; planning, monitoring, and evaluation; and accountability and transparency has been led by the Governance Global Practice of the World Bank. Read more about our work here