Moscow, Russia, February 15-19, 2010 - World Bank Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia Philippe Le Houerou visited Russia. Joining World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick, Le Houerou participated in the Moscow International Conference New Partners in Global Development Finance, and met with Government officials to discuss expanding cooperation with Russia as an emerging global, and particularly as a new important regional donor.
Le Houerou took part in meetings with President Dmitry Medvedev and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin, in which he was a key proponent of the importance of the Russian Federation as a strategic partner of the World Bank Group at the global, regional, and bilateral levels.
To illustrate and support the country’s development role, Kudrin and Zoellick signed two agreements that expand Russia’s role as a regional donor to Eastern European and Central Asian countries. One is a program to increase excellence in effective public financial management, including through a center to deliver professional training to specialists throughout the region. According to Kudrin, “The program is planned for five years, and Russia will allocate US$30 million, including US$4 million in 2010.”
The second agreement commits Russia and the World Bank to expanding current regional cooperation for low-income countries, focusing on the quality of education and food security, as well as health, infectious disease control, access to energy, and agriculture.
During his two-day visit, Le Houerou also met with Ministers of Transport, Igor E. Levitin, and of Economic Development, Elvira S. Nabiullina, to discuss how the World Bank Group could best help the challenge of modernization facing Russia’s future economic development.
To see firsthand the results of the Bank’s work on the ground, Le Houerou visited the Kashirskiy Customs Station and Warehouse located in the outskirts of Moscow. This World Bank-financed Customs Development Project introduced the country’s first electronic system of customs cargo maintenance and clearance as well as internet distance filing and processing of customs declarations, which is easing trade flows and reducing customs clearance times.