Colombo, December 13, 2010 – The World Bank Group’s Managing Director Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will arrive Friday for an official two day visit to Sri Lanka. During her stay, she will be meeting with senior government officials and visiting the World Bank Group’s supported projects. Her trip coincides with a new era of development in Sri Lanka as it embarks on an ambitious new course towards a middle income country in lasting peace.
“The World Bank has been an active partner in supporting Sri Lanka in its transition from a low income country in conflict to a middle income country in peace,” said Dr. Okonjo-Iweala. “The post-war environment provides an opportunity to build on our relationship to support the government’s vision to firmly establish the country’s place in the ranks of fast growing middle income countries.”
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala will be visiting World Bank Group supported projects in Eastern Sri Lanka aimed at increasing opportunities and enhancing economic growth and development. Her visits will include projects assisting with higher education, employment generation for vulnerable groups, small and micro enterprise development and increasing computer use and literacy.
“Seeing these projects will allow me to gain a firsthand perspective on Sri Lanka’s development aspirations as well as the challenges the country faces,” Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said.
She will be meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, policy makers and senior officials including Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal along with members of the media. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala will also deliver a speech at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to mark the 60th anniversary of its founding.
“During these meetings, I hope to understand how the Bank can best assist Sri Lanka during this period of transition. As a trusted knowledge partner for over 50 years, the World Bank looks forward to building upon this established collaboration and to continue supporting Sri Lanka’s ambitious development agenda.” said Dr. Okonjo-Iweala.
Since the World Bank Group’s first development credit to Sri Lanka for the Aberdeen – Laksapana Power Project in 1954, the institution has become one of Sri Lanka’s largest development partners. It has worked closely to support the country’s progress in infrastructure, education, health, and environmental protection. It is currently supporting the implementation of 17 projects totaling US$1.25 billion in assistance aimed at maximizing impact and results.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, a national of Nigeria, was formerly the Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as the first female Minister of Finance and Economy for Nigeria. Economic growth rates tripled during her time as Finance Minister and she has garnered international recognition for improving Nigeria’s financial stability and fostering greater fiscal transparency to combat corruption.