World Bank Vice President Visits Kyrgyz Republic

May 17, 2012

BISHKEK, May 17, 2012 – Mr. Philippe Le Houérou, the World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Region today completed his four-day visit to Kyrgyz Republic, as part of his trip to the Central Asia. The aim of his visit was to discuss with the country’s leadership – President Almazbek Atambayev, Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov and senior government officials - as well as development partners, parliamentarians, business community, and donors the current economic and social situation, and how the World Bank can partner recovery and development.

“This is my second visit to Kyrgyz Republic,” said Philippe Le Houérou, “And I am pleased to observe first-hand the progress that the country has made since the difficulties of 2010. The World Bank is now ready to help the new government to realize its medium term program of reforms.”

Upon arrival Le Houérou met with Akylbek Japarov, Minister of Finance. The discussion was centered on the shared aim of the World Bank and the Government of improving the effectiveness of public spending.

In the meeting with Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov, the parties discussed the country’s recent achievements and how World Bank finance could support the plans of the new Government. Mr. Le Houérou noted the tripling of World Bank assistance after the 2010 Donors’ Conference and reaffirmed the World Bank’s support for future anti-corruption and economic reforms.

Issues of mutual interest were discussed with Parliamentarians. Mr Le Houérou emphasized the shared interest of the World Bank and MPs in ensuring concrete and visible results. He informed MPs that he hoped to deepen the World Bank’s sharing of information and analysis with legislators.

Mr. Le Houérou co-chaired with the Deputy Prime Minister, Joomart Otorbaev, a roundtable discussion focused on the investment climate and obstacles to the development of the private sector, with active participation of entrepreneurs. He underscored that the Bank values an ongoing dialogue with the private sector. Mr. Otorbaev invited the World Bank to help the Government prepare a medium-term private sector development strategy.

Mr. Le Houérou visited World Bank supported project sites, starting with a food technology training center under renovation at the Kyrgyz State Technical University implemented under the Agribusiness and Marketing Project (ABMP). Le Houérou participated in an opening of training classroom for the veterinary students at the Agrarian University under the Agriculture Investment and Services Project (AISP), discussed irrigation issues with the management of the Water Users Association “Shorolu” in Kun-Tuu, and talked to farmers – members of the Community Seed Funds “Konok-Dyikan” and the Jaiyt (pasture) Committee in Kyzil-Tuu.

With Gulnara Asymbekova, Deputy Prime Minister on Social Policy, Philippe Le Houérou discussed the importance of health and education services, as a human right aspect, as well as for economic growth. Mr. Le Houérou and the Deputy Prime Minister noted the $65 million of World Bank funding in the pipeline to support the government’s successful reforms in health and education.

Finally, Philippe Le Houérou met the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Almazbek Atambaev. Le Houérou congratulated the President on the country’s successful political transition and economic recovery. He pledged the World Bank’s support and encouragement for the administration’s goals of fighting corruption, reforming the economy and improving social services for ordinary citizens. The President commended the World Bank for being a reliable, long-term partner of the Kyrgyz Republic.

“The World Bank is greatly encouraged by the Kyrgyz Republic’s recovery from the crisis of 2010 and by its determination to beat corruption and poverty,” stated Mr. Le Houérou. “The leadership’s program deserves support, and the World Bank is helping it to deliver visible change to the country’s citizens.”

The World Bank’s overall mission in the country is to reduce poverty, promote economic growth and improve the quality of life. The Kyrgyz Republic obtains finance from the World Bank on highly concessional terms – 45% is pure grant, and 55% loans. The loans attract no interest and only a 0.75 percent service charge. Credits are repayable in 40 years, including a 10-year grace period, while grants require no repayment. The World Bank also offers advisory services free of charge from its own operating budget.

The Kyrgyz Republic joined the World Bank Group in September 1992. Since then, the World Bank has been a leading development partner with commitments of US$ 1,089 billion (in the form of grants and highly concessional credits) and US$ 882.8 million disbursements. The current portfolio сconsists of 17 active projects worth US$ 349.4 million focusing on private, financial and energy sectors, transport and infrastructure development, and health care reform.

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