SANTO DOMINGO, March 13, 2023 – Today, World Bank Group President David Malpass met with President Luis Abinader Corona of the Dominican Republic.
President Malpass and President Abinader discussed the challenging global situation, including the difficult normalization of interest rates in the U.S. and Europe and high prices for food, energy, and fertilizer. President Malpass welcomed the Dominican Republic's solid growth, the strong dialogue with the private sector, and the active World Bank Group engagement.
President Malpass was glad to discuss with President Abinader and his ministers their priorities to further strengthen the business environment and competitiveness. They discussed the importance of electricity sector reforms to improve governance and transparency, reduce losses, and finance investment in capacity, renewables, and the grid.
President Malpass and President Abinader discussed the devastating insecurity in Haiti and the associated impacts on the Dominican Republic, including border security costs, increased demand on Dominican Republic food production, and unprecedented levels of human mobility across the region.
President Malpass and President Abinader reviewed ways to enable private capital and attract more investment, recognizing the country’s opportunity as a logistics hub. They discussed the reduced availability of natural gas and fertilizer with the absorption by Europe, Brazil, and Asia, and the pressure on agriculture and smaller farms.
President Malpass and President Abinader discussed the regulation of state-owned water and sanitation companies to increase the efficiency and quality of service delivery, reduce marine plastic waste, and improve water management, which is critical to agricultural productivity. They also discussed broadening the tax base, reducing exemptions, and simplifying the tax system to reduce compliance costs. President Malpass welcomed the central bank policies providing currency stability and contributing to growth and investment.
They also recognized that competitiveness and new investment depend in part on improvements in education and worker skills, and increased regional trade. President Malpass welcomed the Alianza para el Desarrollo en Democracia (ADD) between the Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, improving connection within these markets.
President Malpass and President Abinader also discussed the World Bank Group financing and technical assistance providing support to energy, water and sanitation, disaster risk management, housing, social protection, health, and governance. They discussed the World Bank Group Country Climate and Development Report that will identify priorities to improve the Dominican Republic’s adaptation to climate change, including improving resilience of infrastructure to natural disasters. Engaging the private sector to be more involved in infrastructure development could help finance investment needs and leave more public sector resources to support the vulnerable and reduce government debt.