Aug 29, Colombo: The World Bank's new country director assigned to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Ms. Francoise Clottes, said she sees "high potential" in Sri Lanka when she met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday (Aug. 28) evening.
The World Bank official also said that the government has put in place some ambitious goals, and the global lender is ready to help Sri Lanka to reach those goals.
"What is more remarkable is that (work on those objectives) is well under way and the World Bank's role in the country now is more about how we can help more," she said.
President Rajapaksa advised Ms. Clottes to visit rural parts of the country to get a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of Sri Lanka. The President also said that speaking directly with the people will be the best way to understand the actual ground situation.
Ms. Clottes told the President that she feels "privileged to be placed in Sri Lanka," and said the World Bank remains fully-aligned with the Sri Lankan government's vision for the country.
"The country is unique. The country has assets," Ms. Clottes said, describing how, unlike many other countries, Sri Lanka does not have to struggle to establish an identity.
Recognizing that infrastructure development is paramount to achieve government's targeted growth rate of 6-8 percent over the next five years, the World Bank has funded several mega projects in Sri Lanka.
Among the projects funded by the World Bank are the Road Sector Assistance Project, Second Health Sector Development Project, Metro Colombo Urban Development Project and Transforming the School Education System.
Since Sri Lanka has achieved middle-income status, the country now has required access to International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) financing which allows Sri Lanka to receive significantly increased financial support from the World Bank during the coming years.
Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P.B. Jayasundera also participated in the meeting.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)