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