GUWAHATI – Martin Raiser, the new World Bank Vice President for South Asia, and Auguste Tano Kouamé, the new Country Director, World Bank India, today met with the Honourable Assam Chief Minister, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati – to discuss how the Bank could continue to support the state’s future development priorities for maximum impact.
During the two-day visit to Assam, Mr. Raiser and Mr. Kouamé will also see first-hand the impact of the ongoing World Bank-financed projects in the state.
In the meeting, Chief Minister Dr. Sarma and Mr. Raiser discussed pipeline projects, worth nearly $1 billion, which the Bank is preparing to support Assam’s future development. This pipeline of projects is in response to the Government of Assam and the Ministry of Finance, Government of India’s request for support to unlock Assam’s growth potential, strengthen the state’s water infrastructure and improve its health systems. Projects worth $450 million are likely to be presented to the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors by June 2023.
These proposed projects will aim to increase trade and investment, build resilience to increasingly frequent and severe climate-related shocks, and spur the development of the agriculture, tourism, and logistics sectors to boost growth and employment. The World Bank will continue to support sustainable flood management measures in the Brahmaputra basin and enhancement of the iconic river’s economic potential – through augmentation of waterways trade and transport systems.
“Assam and the World Bank have had a long and impactful partnership supporting the state’s climate-resilient and resource-efficient growth, especially in agriculture, water infrastructure and public finance,” said Chief Minister Dr. Sarma. “We have identified some key areas for Assam’s future growth, and I look forward to the Bank’s knowledge and financial support in these sectors.”
During the meeting, Chief Minister Dr. Sarma launched the World Bank-supported Assam State Public Procurement Portal today, which will help the state manage its public finances in a more effective and transparent manner.
“Chief Minister Dr Sarma shared his vision for Assam’s future development and the Bank stands ready to support this vision in areas where we can be most impactful,” said Mr. Raiser. “Boosting job-oriented growth, building more climate resilient water infrastructure and strengthening delivery of citizen services will be at the heart of our future engagement.”
“We also discussed that Assam, with its strategic geographic location, can benefit significantly from greater regional economic cooperation,” Mr. Raiser added.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Raiser and Mr. Kouamé visited Kamrup district where they met with members of the Farmer Producer Organization of the World Bank-supported Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART). The Government of Assam aims to double farmer’s 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 the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) being supported by the same project.
“The APART project has been very effective in supporting private entrepreneurs in both rural and urban districts. It was impressive to see how the women groups in rural Assam are diversifying their fish farm-based products to reach new markets and increasing income for their families,” said Mr. Kouamé. “The Bank will continue to support these efforts in Assam.”
The World Bank has had a long relationship with the Government of Assam over the last two decades. The World Bank’s total ongoing funding for Assam state-specific projects is approximately $349 million in the sectors of agriculture, transportation, public finance management and delivery of citizen-centric public services. Assam has also received funding from wider World Bank-supported central and multi-state projects including agricultural higher education, rural livelihoods, power system improvement, and hydrology.
India is the World Bank Group’s largest client with a portfolio that includes lending of $3.98 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and $83 million (or 0.08 billion) from the International Development Association (IDA) last fiscal (July 2021-June 2022). As of July 2022, the Bank’s net commitments to the country stood at $21.86 billion (IBRD $18.76 billion, IDA $3.0 billion) across 99 projects.