KATHMANDU, January 23, 2012 – The World Bank Country Director for Nepal and Bangladesh, Ms. Ellen Goldstein, held a farewell meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai Tuesday evening. Goldstein is completing her tenure in South Asia and has recently been appointed as the World Bank’s Country Director for South East Europe.
Goldstein also called on Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun and senior Government officials including the Chief Secretary; Secretary, Ministry of Finance; Secretary, PMO; and the Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank. The World Bank Country Manager for Nepal, Tahseen Sayed, was present at the meetings.
During these meetings Goldstein highlighted positive development results in Nepal despite the protracted political transition. During her tenure, the World Bank scaled up its support in areas with demonstrated results, such as community empowerment and irrigation. The Bank also supported innovative instruments for results-based financing of infrastructure and for addressing childhood nutrition through a multi-sectoral approach at local levels.
Goldstein attributed the country’s development progress in large part to the resilience of local communities, a functioning civil service, and broad-based support for key development issues across political lines. In line with the Government’s desire to move towards a longer term framework for development and cooperation, the World Bank Group is preparing a Country Assistance Strategy for Nepal this year, through a highly participatory and consultative process. In this context, Goldstein noted the need to accelerate implementation of existing World Bank-funded operations and to eliminate bottlenecks to preparing new operations this year.
In her meeting with the Prime Minister, Goldstein welcomed the recent efforts to resolve some longstanding issues affecting progress in the energy sector, including: enhancing the leadership of the Nepal Electricity Authority, creating a high-level project coordination committee for national priority projects chaired by the Chief Secretary, and accelerating cross-ministerial decision-making on public-private partnerships for hydro-power development and removing bottlenecks for the construction of transmissions lines. Goldstein noted that continued high-level engagement and oversight was critical for the World Bank to dramatically increase its support to the power sector in the next year or so and contribute to a reduction of load-shedding for Nepal’s people.
Goldstein said the World Bank Group is proud to be associated with Nepal’s impressive development results over the years and that it looks forward to celebrating fifty years of development partnership with Nepal later in the year. She said the Bank Group will continue to strengthen its presence in Nepal and nurture the relationships it has developed over the years.
Goldstein’s successor will take up office in May 2013. Until then, Salman Zaheer, Director for Regional Integration, South Asia Region, World Bank, will act as the Bank’s Country Director for Nepal and Bangladesh.