New Delhi, 9 January 2011: World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick arrives in India tomorrow on a four-day visit aimed at strengthening co-operation with the country as it aims to accelerate growth to provide better infrastructure and efficient social services for its people.
“India’s return to high levels of growth is helping the global economy recover from the crisis,” said Zoellick. “While developing countries have been a key driver of global growth, challenges remain for both the developed and developing worlds. We will work with our partners to meet those challenges, strengthening local opportunity and global growth.”
“India is a player on the global stage. The country’s status as a rising economic power is closely connected with how it manages this next phase of growth, balancing rapid development with the environment and most importantly, the need to ensure all people have opportunity.”
He said India’s needs, especially for financing its ambitious infrastructure and human development programs, are growing rapidly, as it strives to improve the lives of a billion people, one-third of whom are desperately poor.
“We support the government’s strategy of boosting growth while helping the most vulnerable people be able to seize the opportunities afforded by an expanding economy,” said the Bank President, who last visited India in December 2009.
During his visit this week, Zoellick will meet government leaders, including the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission to better understand how the World Bank Group can be useful to India in meeting its development priorities as it gears up for the XII Five Year Plan. The discussions with the prime minister and government will also cover cooperation on global issues, including preparations for the upcoming G-20 meetings. The World Bank and India work closely on climate change, biodiversity including saving the wild tiger, trade, and regional integration.
“The World Bank Group is committed to exploring how best to leverage our financial and knowledge resources to forge innovative global partnerships that will work for India as it steps up its responses to its development challenges,” said Zoellick.
In line with its aim to support the government’s development goals, the World Bank has more than 70 active projects in India, including several large projects in the critical area of infrastructure. During his visit, the World Bank president will witness the signing of two new projects in the roads and disaster management sectors, as well as meet with private sector representatives, the Self Employed Women’s Association and urban and water experts. He will also travel to Bihar, where the Bank is helping the state government with a rehabilitation program for areas affected by the Kosi floods.
The World Bank Group significantly boosted its support to India last year to help offset the impact of the global financial crisis. The Bank Group made a record US$11.1 billion in commitments to India last financial year, ending June 2010. The record funding levels were in response to India’s request to help insulate its capital markets from the global slowdown, support infrastructure and help continue delivering essential social services.
The record funding included US$2.6 billion in interest free credits from the Bank’s fund for the poorest, the International Development Association; $6.7 billion in the form of long term, low interest loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Bank’s lending arm for middle income countries; and $1.8 billion from the Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation