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World Bank Vice President Concludes Visit to Tajikistan

Thursday 24 May 2012

DUSHANBE (World Bank) – World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Philippe Le Houérou, completed a visit to Tajikistan today after meeting with President Emomali Rahmon and discussing development projects financed by the World Bank.

Since 1996, the World Bank’s cooperation program with Tajikistan has entailed 85 operations for about US $700 million. These continue to benefit Tajik citizens by contributing to improved education, better access to healthcare, enhanced land rights, more jobs in rural areas, and improved business environment and private sector development. In addition, current and planned projects provide emergency funding in response to winter energy shortages, food insecurity, and the spring floods. Tajikistan’s allocation from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for low-income countries, increased from $75 million in fiscal years 2009-2011 to $155 million in fiscal years 2012-2014. The investment portfolio in Tajikistan of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm, is $37 million with projects in financial markets, manufacturing, agribusiness, services, and infrastructure.

“Over the years, the Bank has strived to anticipate and address new challenges facing this dynamic country,” said Mr Le Houérou. “While we are helping Tajikistan respond to emergency needs, such as this year’s serious spring floods, we are also investing our increased grant resources in higher quality services for citizens, farmers, and firms.”

In a meeting with President Rahmon and senior Government officials, Mr Le Houérou noted the critical importance of Tajikistan’s energy sector and the country’s vast water resources. Over the years, the World Bank’s engagement in the energy sector has been supporting the Government of Tajikistan’s efforts to ensure reliable electricity to consumers, deal with severe winter energy shortages, reduce electricity system losses, and strengthen the financial management of the energy sector. In addition, the Bank is undertaking a power supply options study to assess the alternative energy sources available to Tajikistan.

In response to a request by the Government of Tajikistan, the World Bank has also provided financing for two studies to evaluate the viability of the proposed Rogun Hydropower Project (HPP) according to international standards – the Techno-Economic Assessment Study and the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. As agreed with the Government, the two international Panels of Experts will participate in the studies and provide independent advice and recommendations. In addition, riparians will be actively informed and consulted throughout the process.

In meetings with the President and senior Government officials of Tajikistan, the World Bank discussed the status of the Rogun HPP assessment studies. During these meetings, the Bank reiterated its concerns related to the process and methodology of the assessment studies.

The financing for the Rogun assessment studies is presently provided through the World Bank-funded Energy Loss Reduction Project (ELRP), which closes on June 30, 2012. Continued financing for the Rogun assessment studies is part of the Additional Financing for the ELRP which was recently approved by the World Bank Board of Directors. For this Additional Financing to become effective all the outstanding issues related to the process and methodology of the studies need to be resolved by the Government of Tajikistan in a manner satisfactory to the Bank.

The World Bank and Tajikistan will continue building on nearly two decades of partnership by further reducing poverty and creating a stronger foundation for private sector development and job creation in the country.

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