World Bank Executives Wrap Landmark Central Asia Tour

DUSHANBE, March 9, 2024-Today, a delegation of the World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors (EDs) concluded a landmark visit to Central Asia, following a series of engagements in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan. The visit provided an opportunity for the EDs to observe the region's development efforts firsthand, with a particular focus on climate change within the prism of the water-energy nexus, human capital with an emphasis on innovations and gender equality, and green private sector-led growth.

Throughout the visit, the 10 EDs met with high-ranking officials and local stakeholders to discuss the ongoing and future support provided by the International Development Association (IDA) to the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. While in Kazakhstan, the delegation's agenda focused on the World Bank Central Asia regional program, connecting with key partners across the region on shared development issues. The program in the three countries also involved visiting investment project sites of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

Key highlights of the visit included:

  • In the Kyrgyz Republic, the delegation met with H.E. President Sadyr Japarov, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Akylbek Zhaparov, and other officials. The EDs also visited World Bank-funded water and sanitation, education, and disaster risk management project sites, as well as a MIGA-guaranteed smart farm of hydroponic greenhouses and IFC agri-food processing projects.
  • In Kazakhstan, the Executive Directors visited a World Bank-financed oncology center, and toured the Almaty Airport, an IFC project site.
  • In Tajikistan, the delegation met with H.E. President Emomali Rahmon and his Cabinet. They also toured the Rogun hydropower plant site, visited a World Bank-financed early childhood development project, the health services improvement project, and met with IFC investment beneficiaries in Dushanbe. Discussions with female leaders were held on the eve of International Women's Day, highlighting the importance of promoting gender equality in the region's development.

The World Bank Group's efforts in Central Asia are geared towards fostering robust recovery from recent crises, enhancing climate resilience, creating jobs, and protecting the most vulnerable populations. Central Asia's vulnerability to climate change is particularly acute in water management, necessitating advanced knowledge and cooperation for adaptation.

Dominique Favre, the World Bank's Executive Director for Switzerland, who also represents the constituency of countries including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Poland, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, expressed optimism about the region's progress. He emphasized the World Bank Group's commitment to helping the Central Asian countries meet their development goals in areas such as water, energy, and agriculture. He particularly welcomed the increased focus on regional projects to address the many joint challenges Central Asian countries are facing.

This visit underscores the Board's hands-on approach to understanding and addressing the multifaceted challenges facing the Central Asian countries.

About the World Bank Group's Board of Directors: The Board of Executive Directors is responsible for the conduct of the general operations of the Bank, making decisions on loans, credits, grants, policies, and financial matters. The Board consists of 25 members who represent the 189 member countries, providing guidance for the institution's development activities.

Visiting Board Officials: The delegation included Mr. Abdoul Salam Bello (Executive Director for Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, and Togo); Mr. Matteo Bugamelli (Executive Director for Albania, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, San Marino, and Timor-Leste ); Mr. Hayrettin Demircan (Executive Director for Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, and Türkiye); Mr. Dominique Favre (Executive Director for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan (Host for the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan); Mr. Felice Gorordo (Alternate Executive Director for the United States); Mr. Zarau Kibwe (Alternate Executive Director for Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe); Ms. Lene Lind (Executive Director for Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden); Ms. Eva Valle Maestro (Alternate Executive Director for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Spain); Mr. Tauqir Shah (Executive Director for Afghanistan, Algeria, Ghana, Islamic Republic of Iran, Morocco, Pakistan, and Tunisia); Ms. Ekaterina Sycheva (Alternate Executive Director for Russian Federation, and Syrian Arab Republic).

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