Surpassing the USD 2000 per capita income, Sri Lanka is no longer an underdeveloped country and as a result not qualified for International Development Association (IDA) loans that provide interest free financial assistance to underdeveloped countries, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank Group stated.
She made this statement when she called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today (17).
Instead, the World Bank will consider providing a commercial loan of USD 265 million from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, she said.
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), an arm of the World Bank aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy countries by promoting sustainable development through loans, guarantees, risk management products, and analytical and advisory services.
`The World Bank has been an active partner in supporting Sri Lanka in its transition from a low income country in conflict to a middle income country in peace`, said Dr. Okonjo-Iweala.
The post-conflict environment provides an opportunity to build on our relationship to support the government`s vision to firmly establish the country`s place in the ranks of fast growing middle income countries, she said.
In addition to funding, she said the World Bank is willing to share knowledge and expertise with Sri Lanka regarding urban development.
Foreign Direct Investment is vital for any middle income country to achieve its economic targets, she added.
She also emphasized the importance of seeking alternative energy sources as the world is on the brink of an energy crisis.
Deputy Minister of External Affairs Geethanjana Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Novard Cabrall were also present at the dicussion.