Purpose of visit was to review the country program and mark 15 years of development cooperation
Dushanbe, December 8, 2011 - The World Bank Director for Strategy and Operations for the Europe and Central Asia Region, Mr. Theodore Ahlers, completed his four-day visit to Tajikistan today reviewing the progress under the Country Partnership Strategy with the Government of Tajikistan, including areas for future priority support.
Mr. Ahlers and the Bank team met with the President of Tajikistan, the Prime Minister, other government officials, donors and civil society representatives to discuss the partnership between the World Bank and Tajikistan. The Bank is currently financing 16 projects in Tajikistan totaling USD 212 million. This financial support focuses on agriculture and rural development (38 percent), energy and water (33 percent), education, health and social protection (26 percent), and economic policy reform (3 percent).
Mr. Ahlers noted that the World Bank has long been a development partner of Tajikistan, having provided USD 640 million in grants and concessional credits over the last 15 years. The midpoint of the 2010-2013 Country Partnership Strategy provides an opportunity for a progress review. For 2012, the Bank is considering financing projects for USD 50 to 60 million. These projects are aimed at energy loss reduction, municipal infrastructure development, farm restructuring and land registration, private and financial sector development, and economic policy reform. Priorities were also discussed for allocating additional funding through 2014.
Recognizing Tajikistan’s current energy shortage problems and its long-run hydropower potential, the energy situation was a particular focus of the discussions. The Bank is currently preparing a power supply options study for Tajikistan. The Bank also expressed readiness to support other priority measures such as Nurek HPP rehabilitation, a winter energy management plan, advisory support on electricity export, and scaling-up the Dushanbe metering program. Regarding electricity export potential, Mr. Ahlers noted the recent progress on advancing the proposed CASA-1000 project that would permit Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic to export their current summer electricity surpluses to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Within the context of the energy discussions, the Bank and the Government of Tajikistan reviewed the status of the Rogun assessment studies financed by the World Bank at the request of the Government. The studies were initiated in February 2011 and both parties reiterated the importance of completing the studies using the highest international standards in order to thoroughly address dam safety, environmental and socio-economic issues.
Mr. Ahlers urged the Government to develop a revised completion schedule with the consultants taking into account the recent delays in work and communicate the conclusions to the World Bank. He also emphasized that the commitment to information sharing with riparians and civil society enhances the quality, transparency, and international recognition of such studies.