DUSHANBE, April 29, 2010 – World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Philippe Le Houerou paid his first visit to the Republic of Tajikistan on April 28-29, 2010.
The visit took place at an important time when the Government of Tajikistan and the World Bank are developing a new Country Partnership Strategy for 2010-2013, which builds on the Bank’s long-standing relationship with the country that dates back to 1993. Since Tajikistan became a member of the World Bank in that year, the Bank has had a total of nearly $500 million in commitments for 35 projects. Of those, 17 projects are still ongoing. The main objectives of the new strategy are to reduce the negative impact of the crisis on poverty and vulnerability in Tajikistan, pave the way for post-crisis recovery and sustained development, improve social services, modernize agriculture, and improve food security.
As part of his visit, Le Houerou met with President Emomali Rahmon to discuss the economic situation in Tajikistan and the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the country. They talked about the main directions of the government towards sustainable economic growth for the future. Le Houerou encouraged the government of Tajikistan to continue with key reforms in agriculture and land reform, as well as improving the business and investment climate in the country.
“Tajikistan achieved strong economic growth and macroeconomic stability during the last decade. However, the global financial crisis has hit the country hard. The government is now facing a difficult task of resuming growth and protecting the most vulnerable population from the impacts of the crisis. The World Bank will continue supporting Tajikistan in the areas of agriculture, energy, climate change, education, health, and public sector reform,” Le Houerou said during his meeting with the government.
Le Houerou also met with representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and highlighted the importance of partnership between the World Bank Group and the CSOs.
During his two day stay in the country, Le Houerou visited the Nurek hydro-power station and rehabilitation works at the Rogun site. He welcomed the government‘s commitment for conducting independent comprehensive assessments on techno-economic, social and environmental viability of the Rogun Hydro Power Project. The Bank is supporting the preparation of these studies and is working towards completing the studies as soon as possible while ensuring that the best international standards are applied. Subject to confirmation of the project’s technical soundness, economic viability and compliance with all relevant environmental and social safeguards, the Bank would consider facilitating the organization of an international consortium to finance implementation of the Rogun project.
Last week, a World Bank team of technical and environmental experts visited the Rogun site, observed the rehabilitation works, and found the works to be of generally good quality. The team will continue monitoring of the rehabilitation works and will send two technical specialists to the site in coming weeks.