"India a repository of immense development knowledge for the developing world,"
says World Bank MD
New Delhi, May 12, 2011: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee received World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala today, in New Delhi, to discuss strategising Bank’s engagement with India to yield maximum results and to discuss how Bank’s financial and technical resources could be leveraged to help serve the huge challenges that confront India as it gears up to meet the aspirations of a billion people.
"As India accelerates its growth with the aim of reducing poverty and inequality, we see an important role for the World Bank for knowledge and experience it can bring from elsewhere in the world, along with long term development finance,” said Mr Mukherjee. “We have decided to explore innovative approaches not only for fostering strong growth but also for ensuring that growth is inclusive.”
Speaking after her interaction with the Finance Minister, Ms Okonjo-Iweala said, “India helped anchor the world economy during the recent global financial crisis by skillfully managing its own economy during the turbulence. It has today emerged as one of the poles of economic growth in the world and has returned to high levels of growth domestically. I am here to learn from the Minister and others how India plans to sustain this growth, ensure its inclusiveness and how the Bank can best support its development strategy."
Discussions covered India’s economy, rights based approach to development, challenges in achieving and going beyond MDGs, co-financing and South-South Cooperation.
The Finance Minister and the MD discussed various emerging options on how the Bank could better support India’s long-term growth, including bringing in co-financing, using Bank resources to pilot new and innovative approaches.
Mr. Mukherjee and Ms. Okonjo-Iweala, a former Finance Minister of Nigeria, also shared their views on the challenge of ensuring that the ongoing expansion of government programs in critical infrastructure and social sectors is backed by capacity enhancements, particularly in areas of project management, asset management and for delivery and monitoring of results.
The Finance Minister and the MD also highlighted the important role India is playing in South-South cooperation. “India is today a repository of immense development knowledge. Governments in developing countries are keen to learn from India’s experience with public policy, social and development programs, and social accountability models and tools. We at the Bank are happy to facilitate this exchange,” said Ms Okonjo-Iweala.
Mr. Mukherjee complimented Ms. Okonjo –Iweala for her commitment to South-South cooperation and said that India will be happy to work with the World Bank in this regard.
Ms Okonjo-Iweala is on a four-day visit to India during which she will visit health and livelihood projects in Madhya Pradesh and will travel to Mumbai to see firsthand the challenges India faces as it goes through rapid urbanization.
The Bank's $21.9 billion-portfolio in the country covers 77 active investment projects. As of today, India is the largest IDA (International Development Association) and the third largest IBRD (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) borrower from the World Bank.