Thursday, March 28, 2019

High-level World Bank Group delegation heads for Nepal Investment Summit

The chief executive officer of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and two World Bank Group vice presidents will join development banks, ambassadors, and hundreds of investors from more than 30 countries at the Nepal Investment Summit on March 29 and 30, according to the World Bank.
The summit aims at helping attract private financing for key infrastructure projects as Nepal undertakes new regulatory reforms.
The top three bank officials including executive vice president and CEO of MIGA Keiko Honda, vice president of the World Bank’s South Asia region Hartwig Schafer, and vice president at the Economics and Private Sector Development of International Finance Corporation (IFC) Hans Peter Lankes will take active part in the summit.
The three World Bank Group representatives will discuss the bank’s support for Nepal with Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and finance minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, the bank's press note reads.
“Nepal has been a rising star in South Asia with foreign direct investment flows reaching a record high in 2017, and likely to remain an important investment destination in the region," Honda said, adding that it confirms Nepal’s efforts to improve its investment climate and become a competitive investment destination for multinational companies that want to have an impact. "We stand ready to work with investors and the government to make Nepal a hub for investment in infrastructure that improves lives, leads to sustainable growth and delivers opportunity for its citizens."
"With 25 projects approaching $3 billion in financing, we are here for the long haul and will continue to support infrastructure development, policy reforms, skills development, and anything required," South Asia VP Schafer said, adding that there is a clear acceptance by Nepal authorities that the country’s prosperity will rely on crowding in the investment from around the world. "Not only financial resources, but also technical and managerial know-how, will be critical to realise Nepal’s vast potential."
"IFC has played a role in creating markets and supporting investments for 60 years," added IFC VP Lankes. "In Nepal, we are looking to scale up significantly our investments in strategic sectors such as hydropower, agribusiness, tourism, and financial inclusion," he said, adding that the IFC is encouraged by the government’s efforts to improve the enabling environment and IFC plans to increase its cumulative investment portfolio to around $1 billion over the next four years.
Schafer will speak at the summit’s inaugural session tomorrow. Lankes and Honda will deliver special addresses at March 30 sessions on international experience-sharing and financing infrastructure, respectively.
In Nepal, the World Bank Group (WBG) includes the International Development Association (IDA), the concessionary lending arm; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm; and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the investment risk insurance arm.
The World Bank currently supports 25 active investment projects in Nepal with $2.6 billion in commitments from IDA and trust funds of which a significant portion is for policy reforms in the areas of fiscal decentralisation, the financial sector, and the energy sector. The indicative resources available under IDA18 (fiscal year 2018-20) are about $1.39 billion, including $300 million from the IDA Risk Mitigation Regime. IFC aims to commit about $800 million to $1.2 billion over the five-year period (Fiscal year 2019-23). MIGA is actively seeking opportunities to support foreign private investment into Nepal.
IFC Nepal focuses on private sector development through provision of financing and advisory services to companies to boost their competitiveness, while expanding financial inclusion and delivering sustainable infrastructure solutions. IFC’s current portfolio in Nepal is $57 million. The budget for advisory support aimed at creating bankable projects and building capacity stands at nearly $16 million.
The World Bank Group (WBG) fielded its first economic mission to Nepal in 1963 to assess the country’s development prospects and challenges. It approved its first credit in 1969 for a telecommunications project. Since then, the World Bank has provided Nepal $4.75 billion in assistance ($3.48 billion in credits and $1.27 billion in grants).

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