August 9: Nepal’s quest to secure a stable path to federalism and an inclusive and prosperous future has found a strong support with the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors agreeing to a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Nepal for the next five years.
According to the World Bank, its board also approved a fourth Financial Sector Stability Development Policy Credit (DPC4) of $100 million to help Nepal continue to deepen its medium-term reform program in the financial sector on August 7.
Welcoming the prospects of stability after the elections of 2017, the World Bank Group in the CPF has pledged its support to strengthen institutions that are critical to the effective implementation of federalism, as well as innovative pathways to faster, equitable growth and accountable service delivery.
“Nepal’s transition to federalism unlocks opportunities for all citizens to participate in its development,” said Qimiao Fan, the World Bank’s country director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. “This represents a window of opportunity for the country to further reduce poverty, increase the income of the bottom 40 percent, and pursue its ambitious agenda of inclusive growth and accountable service delivery,” he added.
The CPF notes that the federalism agenda will underpin the World Bank Group’s future programs at the strategic, policy and operational levels. It also cautions that transitional vulnerabilities could heighten in the early days of federalism as development roles are adjusted and the new structures take root. Against this background, the CPF focuses on three major areas of engagement. Strengthening public institutions for economic management, service delivery and public investment is one of the main focuses of the CPF while it also aims to promote private sector-led jobs and growth. The other major engagement under the CPF is enhancing inclusion for the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized groups, with greater resilience against climate change, natural disasters, and other exogenous shocks.
The CPF priorities emerged from extensive consultations with the federal, state and local governments, development partners and key stakeholders including civil society, academia, the private sector, rural community groups and the media, the World Bank said in a statement.
“This includes hearing from over 200,000 citizens across Nepal through SMS and online surveys. The framework aligns with the government’s development priorities and Nepal’s goal to graduate to middle income country status by 2030,” the statement further says.
Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada said, “This partnership strategy with the World Bank supports our goal of giving every Nepali equal access to security, justice, good governance, basic services, and an opportunity to participate in our future prosperity,” adding, “The new partnership strategy with the World Bank Group is focused on supporting our transition to federalism, which fits squarely within our vision and underpins a Nepali-owned model.”
The CPF notes that Nepal will require significant financing – over and above public and development aid resources currently available – to achieve faster growth and accelerate poverty reduction in the context of its transition to federalism. The World Bank Group will apply ‘Maximizing Financing for Development’ approaches to optimize the use of scarce public resources and leverage commercial private financing in Nepal. The CPF states that the government’s development model of growth fueled by higher levels of investment, productivity and effective public institutions to underpin private sector dynamism will require carefully calibrated reforms to draw in private investment in parallel with the implementation of federalism.
The Financial Sector Stability Development Policy Credit (DPC4) of $100 million, approved by the World Bank Board on August 7, is the final in a series of financial sector DPCs that was initiated in 2013 and has since supported a government-led program aimed at stabilizing the sector by reducing vulnerabilities and increasing transparency. In this phase, according to the World Bank, the program has focused on implementing key reforms through a strengthened legal and regulatory framework, consolidating the financial sector, placing the financial sector safety net on a firm footing and laying the ground for a further program of reforms to broaden and deepen access to financial services for both business and individuals.