CHISINAU, August 12, 2010―World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick visited Moldova on August 11-12 at the invitation of Prime Minister Vlad Filat. This was the first official visit to Moldova by a World Bank President since the country joined the institution in 1992. President Zoellick came to Moldova to discuss development issues, the impact of the global economic crisis, and ways in which the World Bank Group can support the country’s economic recovery and growth.
President Zoellick met with Prime-Minister Vlad Filat, Cabinet ministers, the Mayor of Chisinau, ambassadors, think-tanks and private sector managers, and visited two World Bank-supported projects.
The President of the World Bank Group encouraged the Moldovan leadership to continue the current pace of reforms and to scale up efforts to build a better business environment, reform the energy sector, and support growth in high-value agriculture and traditional exports.
“Moldova has undertaken important reforms to stabilize, recover, and grow the economy, while at the same time protecting the most vulnerable. But, the devastating floods that hit Moldova this summer have raised new social and economic challenges,” said Zoellick. “I discussed with the Prime Minister the impact of this year’s floods on Moldova’s economy and people. The World Bank is assisting Moldova with a US$ 10 million Disaster and Climate Risk Management project which will strengthen national capacity to forecast, prepare for, and respond to natural disasters in the future.”
On August 11, President Zoellick visited a kindergarten in the village of Cucuruzeni, jointly with Prime-Minister Filat and Minister of Education Bujor. The kindergarten was rehabilitated through the World Bank-supported Moldova Social Investment Fund II project and the Education for All / Fast Track Initiative, and implemented in cooperation with UNICEF. The kindergarten will provide access to pre-school education services to over 820 families.
On August 12, President Zoellick met with representatives of the private sector, including Union Fenosa, Moldova Agroindbank, ProCredit Bank, and the City of Chisinau – all clients of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. Mr. Zoellick was interested in hearing about the challenges and constraints to private sector development and ways in which the World Bank Group can support economic growth and diversification. The meeting was followed by a tour of Union Fenosa.
“I am pleased to visit one of the first large privatized companies and witness the contribution of technology transfers in improving the quality of services for capital city residents,” said Zoellick.
To reaffirm the commitment of the World Bank to Moldova’s reform agenda, President Zoellick and Prime-Minister Filat signed loan agreements for two recently approved projects:
- Economic Recovery Development Policy Operation in the amount of US$ 25 million, approved by the World Bank Board of Directors on June 24, 2010, which is funding priority expenditures for economic recovery and social protection during fiscal correction, and laying the foundations for a sustained post-crisis recovery in Moldova through exports and private investment; and
- Disaster and Climate Risk Management Project in the amount of US$ 10 million, approved by the World Bank Board of Directors on August 5, 2010, which will strengthen national ability to forecast severe weather and improve Moldova’s capacity to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
Following the signing ceremony, the President and the Prime Minister addressed a distinguished audience of global experts, senior decision-makers, and Government Chief Information Officers from leading countries in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field during the Moldova E-Transformation Rountable. The event is part of the World Bank-supported eTransform Initiative, which brings together the Government of Moldova and global leaders in ICT on how to use this as a driver of government transformation, competitiveness, growth, and better public services.
“The Government has placed ICT at the center of its strategy to transform Moldova into a competitive economy with an efficient, effective, and transparent government,” highlighted Zoellick. “I am pleased to be here today to open this Roundtable with the Prime Minister and am impressed that we have been able bring together such a high-level expert group. The Bank will continue to help Moldova to make this e-transformation vision a reality. The Bank team is working with the Government to prepare the Governance e-Transformation project to attract investments in ICT and promote transparency in governance.”
President Zoellick concluded his two-day official visit to Moldova with a site visit to Monicol Company – a producer and exporter of dried fruit – in the village of Nimoreni. The company is a beneficiary of the World Bank-financed Competitiveness Enhancement Project which provides matching grants to Moldovan companies in implementing international quality standards (ISO and HACCP). The project has helped Monicol export to foreign markets, and the company is now looking to access investment and working capital loans destined for Moldovan export-oriented companies through the same project.
The World Bank committed US $69 million for three projects in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 (July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010) through the International Development Association (IDA) – the concessionary lending arm of the World Bank Group. In FY11 (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011), IDA commitments are expected to be US $47 million also for three projects. International Finance Corporation (IFC) commitments in FY10 were US $30 million (banking and power), and are estimated at US $50 million in FY11.
The World Bank Group consists of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which provides financing, risk management products, and other financial services to members, as well as analytical services, capacity building, and technical services; the International Development Association (IDA), which provides interest-free loans and grants to the poorest countries; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which makes equity investments and provides loans, guarantees, and advisory services to private-sector business in developing countries; and the Bank Group’s political risk insurance agency, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Investment Agency (MIGA).