GUWAHATI, August 22, 2022 – Martin Raiser, The new Vice President of the World Bank for South Asia, and Auguste Tano KouaméThe new Country Director, World Bank India, today met the Honorable Assam Chief Minister, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma Guwahati – to discuss how the Bank can continue to support future development priorities in the region to achieve maximum impact.
During the two-day visit to Assam, Mr. Raiser and Mr. Kouamé will also be able to see with their own eyes the projects in the region funded by the World Bank.
In this meeting, Chief Minister Dr. Sarma and Mr. Raiser discussed the pipeline projects, costing around 1 billion dollars, which the bank is preparing to support the future development of Assam. These pipeline projects are a response to the Government of Assam and the Ministry of Finance, the request of the Government of India for support to unlock the growth potential of Assam, strengthen the state’s water infrastructure and improve health systems. Projects worth $450 million are likely to be presented to the World Bank’s executive committee by June 2023.
These proposed projects will aim to increase trade and investment, build resilience to frequent and severe climate shocks, and encourage the development of the agricultural, tourism, and logistics sectors to promote growth and employment. The World Bank will continue to support sustainable flood management measures in the Brahmaputra basin and enhance the economic potential of the famous river – by increasing trade and transport methods along the waterway.
“Assam and the World Bank have had a long and influential partnership in supporting climate-resilient growth and resources, particularly in agriculture, water infrastructure and public finance.” he said Deputy Minister Dr. Sarma. “We have identified key areas for Assam’s future growth and look forward to the Bank’s knowledge and financial support in these areas.”
During the meeting, the head of the ministry, Dr. Sarma today launched the Assam Public Procurement Portal supported by the World Bank, which will help the government in efficient and effective management of public finances.
“Chief Minister Dr Sarma has shared his vision for the future development of Assam and the bank is ready to support this vision where we can make the most impact,” he said Mr. Raiser. “Promoting job-oriented growth, building climate-resilient water infrastructure and strengthening the provision of services to citizens will be at the heart of future engagement.”
“We also discussed that Assam, with its strategic geographical location, can greatly benefit from regional economic cooperation,” Mr. Raiser was added.
Earlier that day, Mr. Raiser and Mr. Kouamé visited Kamrup district where they met with members of the World Bank-supported Assam Agribusiness and Rural Change Project (APART). The Government of Assam aims to double the agricultural income in the state and the Bank is helping agricultural producers access new technologies, markets, and finance, while also facilitating private investment in the sector. They also interacted with private investors in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who are supporting the same project.
“The APART project has been effective in supporting private entrepreneurs in both rural and urban districts. It was amazing to see how rural women’s groups in Assam are diversifying their fish-based products to reach new markets and increase the income of their families,” he said Mr. Kouame. “The Bank will continue to support these efforts in Assam.“
The World Bank has had a long relationship with the government of Assam for the past two decades. The total financing of the World Bank for special projects in the state of Assam is approximately $349 million in the sectors of agriculture, transport, public finance management and delivery of core social services to citizens. Assam has also received funding from the World Bank to support several federal and state government projects including higher education in agriculture, rural livelihoods, energy system development, and water.
India is the World Bank Group’s largest client with a portfolio that includes loans of $3.98 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and $83 million (or 0.08 billion) from the International Development Organization. (IDA) last budget (July 2021) – June 2022). As of July 2022, the Bank’s net commitments in the country were $21.86 billion (IBRD $18.76 billion, IDA $3.0 billion) across 99 projects.