Suc­cess Sto­ries

The World Bank has a heavy foot­print in Sri Lanka with a num­ber of pro­grams suc­cess­fully un­der­way.

Southasia - - Cover story - By Dr. Omar Fa­rooq Khan

Sri Lanka ( known as Cey­lon un­til 1972) is an is­land coun­try off the south­ern coast of the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent in South Asia. Sri Lanka’s his­tory dates back over ap­prox­i­mately 125,000 years. The Sin­halese peo­ple, who con­sti­tute the ma­jor­ity of the na­tion’s pop­u­la­tion, are fol­lowed by the Tamils, the largest eth­nic mi­nor­ity, con­cen­trated in the north and east of the is­land.

Sri Lanka has been called The Pearl of the In­dian Ocean, pep­pered with trop­i­cal forests and di­verse land­scapes with high bio­di­ver­sity. The coun­try boasts a long and vary­ing his­tory of over three thou­sand years, hav­ing one of the long­est doc­u­mented his­to­ries in the world. Sri Lanka also claims to be one of the old­est democ­ra­cies in the re­gion.

A brief look into Sri Lanka’s his­tory shows an in­ter­est­ing range of events. These range from its Pre­his­toric and Me­dieval civilizations (of Bud­dhists ori­gins) and colo­nial eras (with Por­tuguese, Dutch and British in­flu­ences) to the events and in­ci­dents that shaped its mod­ern foun­da­tion. The coun­try has had a tur­bu­lent his­tory of three ma­jor in­sur­gen­cies, two by Marx­ist mil­i­tants and a 30 year long con­flict with the LTTE (brought to a de­ci­sive end in May 2009).

De­spite hav­ing an event­ful his­tory, Sri Lanka is unique amongst its South Asian coun­ter­parts in that it has un­der­taken con­certed ef­forts to not only over­come its dif­fi­cul­ties but also im­ple­ment strong plans to de­velop its econ­omy. Boast­ing a 92% lit­er­acy rate, Sri Lanka has made strong developments in its agri­cul­tural sec­tor (ex­port­ing cin­na­mon, tea and rub­ber) along with se­ri­ous in­vest­ments in tourism, IT, tex­tiles and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions.

With Sri Lanka’s econ­omy grow­ing at a phe­nom­e­nal rate, the World Bank has in­vested heav­ily in var­i­ous sec­tors across the board. These in­clude:

De­spite hav­ing an event­ful his­tory, Sri Lanka is unique amongst its South Asian coun­ter­parts in that it has un­der­taken con­certed ef­forts to not only over­come its dif­fi­cul­ties but also im­ple­ment strong plans to de­velop its econ­omy.

E-Sri Lanka De­vel­op­ment Project Ad­di­tional Fi­nanc­ing (AF):

The ob­jec­tive of AF for E- Sri Lanka is to as­sist and en­cour­age (fi­nan­cial bor­row­ers) in pro­mot­ing and us­ing mod­ern meth­ods of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion to gen­er­ate bet­ter busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, cre­ate em­ploy­ment and most of all en­cour­age healthy com­pe­ti­tion in small and medium busi­nesses and in­dus­tries.

Metro Colombo Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Project:

Fo­cused on mul­ti­ple lev­els, this project aims to re­duc­ing flood­ing in Colombo’s catch­ment ar­eas by strength­en­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to pro­vide bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture and train­ing per­son­nel to main­tain and up­grade in­fra­struc­ture and spear­head re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices. The project con­cen­trates on flood and drainage sys­tems and plans to im­ple­ment an In­te­grated Flood Man­age­ment Sys­tem (IFMS) while si­mul­ta­ne­ously im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties along the wa­ter bod­ies.

Trans­form­ing the School Ed­u­ca­tional Sys­tem (TSEP) into a Knowl­edge Hub:

This project’s fo­cus is to en­hance the qual­ity of pri­mary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion be­ing pro­vided; so that the knowl­edge based developments should oc­cur in the eco­nomic and so­cial realms of the coun­try.

The project has three as­pects. The first is pro­mot­ing ac­cess to pri­mary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, tar­get­ing chil­dren be­tween 6-10 years of age and 11-16 years for pri­mary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion re­spec­tively. The sec­ond as­pect con­cen­trates on im­prov­ing the ed­u­ca­tion qual­ity and in­cludes a sys­tem of fre­quent and con­tin­u­ous eval­u­a­tion of cog­ni­tive skills. Na­tional level as­sess­ments such as these will serve as a feed­back for pol­icy de­vel­op­ment. The third com­po­nent deals with a Pro­gram for School Im­prove­ment (PSI) that es­tab­lishes a con­trol sys­tem of school man­age­ment mech­a­nisms.

Ware­house Re­ceipts Fi­nanc­ing Project:

The pro­posed Project De­vel­op­ment Ob­jec­tive (PDO) of the pi­lot Ware­house Re­ceipts ( WHR) Project is to fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to fi­nance and qual­ity stor­age by farm­ers dur­ing the whole cy­cle of pro­duc­tion.

Ware­house Re­ceipts fi­nanc­ing fa­cil­i­tates the dual pur­pose of pro­vid­ing a value chain ser­vice to pro­duc­ers through ware­hous­ing, and ac­cess to credit si­mul­ta­ne­ously against stored pro­duce. It aims to in­crease agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity in con­strained ar­eas of Sri Lanka by im­pact­ing agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion and train­ing and ca­pac­ity build­ing of farm­ers and other key agri­cul­tural stake­hold­ers.

The first com­po­nent will sup­port the PDO by pro­vid­ing farm­ers with ac­cess to stor­age fa­cil­i­ties for crit­i­cal crops over a short pe­riod of three months in se­lect project ar­eas as well as other ar­eas of the coun­try with sur­plus grains or pulses. This em­pow­ers the farm­ers to be able to sell their prod­ucts at a bet­ter mar­ket price by hold­ing un­til off peak, while hav­ing funds to meet their im­me­di­ate debts and even to buy nec­es­sary equip­ment for the next sea­son.

The sec­ond com­po­nent will de­velop in­sur­ance prod­ucts to back the Agri­cul­tural Com­mod­ity Ware­house Re­ceipts Sys­tem (ACWRS) and to mit­i­gate weather risks for high value agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and livestock for farm­ers. For ware­house re­ceipts to be ac­cepted by buy­ers, sell­ers, and banks, there is also an in­sur­ance ar­range­ment that pro­vides com­pen­sa­tion if stored goods do not match what is spec­i­fied by the re­ceipt, ei­ther due to negli- gence or fraud by the ware­house.

The third com­po­nent is the Ca­pac­ity Build­ing, Tech­ni­cal As­sis­tance (T.A) and Aware­ness Cre­ation. This com­ple­ments the PDO by sup­port­ing train­ing and knowl­edge dis­sem­i­na­tion of the ware­house re­ceipts mech­a­nism amongst stake­hold­ers. This fund­ing will sup­port train­ing, ca­pac­ity en­hance­ment and TA to vil­lage or­ga­ni­za­tions and com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors, in­clud­ing banks and the com­mod­ity mar­ket­ing play­ers, in­put sup­pli­ers, etc. to de­velop ben­e­fi­cial part­ner­ships to both par­ties.

The fourth com­po­nent will sup­port the es­tab­lish­ment of an­nual field based moni- tor­ing mech­a­nisms and carry out im­pact as­sess­ments.

The fifth and fi­nal com­po­nent will sup­port the re­al­iza­tion of the PDO by co­or­di­nat­ing project plan­ning, im­ple­men­ta­tion and mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion, in line with the rel­e­vant fidu­ciary and safe­guards stan­dards. This en­sures that in­ter­ven­tions are ap­pro­pri­ately planned, co­or­di­nated and aligned with the project’s de­sign and de­vel­op­ment ob­jec­tives. This com­po­nent will also fi­nance ad­di­tional staff to sup­port the op­er­a­tion of the Project Im­ple­men­ta­tion Unit (PIU) in Colombo; pro­vide spe­cial­ized sup­port ser­vices re­lat­ing to key ac­tiv­i­ties such as in­de­pen­dent ex­ter­nal M&E, ex­ter­nal au­dit, fi­nan­cial ac­count­ing and pro­cure­ment; and fund the train­ing of staff in­volved in project im­ple­men­ta­tion.

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