World Bank Reaffirms Strong Support for Burma

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 19 May 2014

RANGOON — Following World Bank Vice President Axel van Trotsenburg’s visit last week, during which he met with several senior Burmese government officials, the Bank says its strong support for Burma will continue.

In January, the World Bank announced that it had approved a package of grants and loans to Burma worth US$2 billion over a number of years, going toward projects in the energy and health care sectors.

Van Trotsenburg, vice president of the World Bank for the East Asia and Pacific region, was in the country from May 12-16. In meetings with officials, he reinforced the Bank’s support for the reforms undertaken by the government of President Thein Sein since 2011, according to a statement.

“I am impressed by Myanmar’s commitment to development, growing the country’s economy, creating jobs and reducing poverty through accelerated reforms,” said Axel van Trotsenburg in the statement, stressing the importance of education reforms in Burma.

“We firmly believe that expanding access to quality education is a critical investment for the future of the country.”

Van Trotsenburg met senior Burmese officials, including Vice President Sai Mauk Kham and Minister of Finance Win Shein and also met with Aung San Suu Kyi, chairwoman of the National League for Democracy.

“This meeting reaffirms the commitment and cooperation between the Government of Myanmar and the World Bank Group in supporting the country’s development priorities. We are working together, in partnership, to implement targeted poverty reduction programs,” said Finance Minister Win Shein in the statement.

The World Bank vice president also visited Chin State to observe some of the initial results of the National Community Driven Development Project, the Bank’s first project in Burma in 25 years.

The six-year project is financed by a US$80 million grant from the World Bank’s International Development Association, approved in November 2012.  The project is empowering rural communities in 15 townships to identify and implement investments they need the most, such as roads, bridges, irrigation systems, schools, health clinics, and rural markets, the statement said.