Chulie De Silva
Erik Nora (202) 458-4735
WASHINGTON, June 5, 2008─ The World Bank today approved a US$75.6 million support package to Sri Lanka for the reconstruction of houses in the conflict affected North and East, upgrading of statistical capacity and auditing standards, and promotion of equitable access to basic and secondary education.
Sri Lanka’s strong economic growth has led to rapid poverty reduction in the past five years. Correspondingly, inequality among provinces, visible in the previous decade has also declined. Remarkably, the reported decline in poverty occurred in regions outside the Western Province, closing the large gap seen in 2002 between the Western Province and the rest of the country. Nevertheless, pockets of high poverty still remain in several areas.
“Our support will help address several pressing needs in Sri Lanka” said Naoko Ishii, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka.“It will provide assistance to families in the North and East to rebuild their homes and restart their lives; improve the quality of education in high poverty areas; and strengthen the capacity of the Auditor General’s Department and the Department of Census and Statistics.”
The US$43 million in additional financing for the North East Housing Reconstruction Program is designed to finance the reconstruction of 13,615 houses in the North and East of the country. This assistance will add to the 34,784 conflict-damaged houses in 2712 villages that have been completed or is near completion increasing the number of poor conflict-affected families that are resettled under this project. The beneficiaries will get a housing support cash grant paid as before, in installments to help reconstruct homes. Technical assistance will also be provided under the program to help meet the long term housing needs in the North and East through improved construction standards, enhanced community involvement in housing construction and streamlined mechanisms to resolve property disputes.
The US$22.6 million for the Public Sector Capacity Building Project aims to improve public administration and financial management by strengthening and modernizing key public sector institutions - Department of Census and Statistics and Auditor General’s Department. The project will focus on organizational strengthening, capacity building, information management, communication improvements, and physical and information technology infrastructure provision.
The US$10 million in additional financing for the Education Sector Development Project is designed to improve educational outcomes of children living in poor regions of the country. In particular, it aims to promote English language skills to improve the future economic opportunities of poor students and as a link language between children of different ethnic communities, increase the availability of higher-order learning spaces and assets such as school Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centers and library resource centers, and attend to basic requirements of schools, including the provision of water and sanitation facilities, in rural, estate and conflict-affected schools.
The credits are from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm, and have 20 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period
For more information on the Bank’s work in Sri Lanka, please visit http://www.worldbank.org.lk
For project information, please visit http://www.worldbank.lk/external/default/main?menuPK=287064&pagePK=141143&piPK=51055560&theSitePK=233047