Managing Director of the World Bank Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin reaffirmed the World Bank’s commitment to support Sri Lanka, not only financially but in arranging opportunities to tap into the knowledge resources of the World Bank Group, as the country prepares to move from a low income to a middle income status.
“Sri Lanka's continued progress towards upper middle income status is critically dependent on a productive and highly skilled labor force, which is contingent on modernizing the education and health systems,” he said, acknowledging Sri Lanka’s achievements in the education and health sectors.
“As it becomes a middle income country, Sri Lanka will face a new set of challenges, including ensuring very high quality education in computer and financial literacy and managing the demographic transition in a way that challenges are turned into opportunities, and maximizing the country benefits from the peace dividend," he said.
The World Bank’s Managing Director visited Sri Lanka last week to get a first hand view of the country’s achievements, challenges and potential.ﾠ He was accompanied by Ms. Diarietou Gaye, World Bank’s Country Director for Sri Lanka, and a team of officials from Washington and the local country office.
Dr. Mohieldin met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Economic Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal, Treasury Secretary P. B. Jayasundera, and other senior officials to discuss how the World Bank can support the government to realize the country’s ambitious development goals as articulated in the Mahinda Chintana. He discussed a new partnership approach of sharing ideas and knowledge that is based on the initiative of democratizing development – a concept laid out by Mr. Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank Group.
During his stay, Dr. Mohieldin visited hospitals and schools in Nuwara Eliya, a World Bank supported Water Supply and Sanitation Project, and held discussions with the local community.
Visiting a tea plantation in Thalawakele, the Managing Director acknowledged the impressive entrepreneurial talent in positioning Sri Lankan tea in the export market and the growing importance of corporate social responsibility adopted by Sri Lanka’s business sector. In Colombo, he had discussions with representatives of the private sector, NGOs and Think Tanks.
In his interactions with a cross section of people of Sri Lanka, he observed a sense of pride and passion in the country’s development vision laid out in Mahinda Chintana.