Jakarta, 7 February 2012
The World Bank has reaffirmed its support for ASEAN’s economic integration, particularly at a time when the Asia-Pacific region is rapidly expanding.
The strong partnership between the two organisations, were strengthened during a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat between ASEAN’s Deputy Secretary-General for the Economic Community, Mr Sundram Pushpanathan, and the newly appointed World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Ms Pamela Cox.
Mr Pushpanathan congratulated Vice President Cox on her new assignment, and he also expressed appreciation to the World Bank for its support for the establishment of the ASEAN Infrastructure Finance Network. He expressed hope that such partnership would serve as a platform for knowledge exchange and partnership between the public and private sectors.
“ASEAN is a community of 600 million people, and we have been able to steadily improve the standard of living of our people over the past four decades. The positive developments in ASEAN have important implications not just for regional economics and politics, but also on a global scale,” he noted.
“ASEAN has given high priority to connectivity, food and energy security, disaster management, as well as narrowing the development gaps in the region, and ASEAN welcomes a stronger partnership with the World Bank in these areas. The ASEAN-World Bank partnership will help ASEAN with its economic community building efforts and to transform the region into a competitive single market and production base with equitable development opening up more trade and economic opportunities for all,” added Mr Pushpanathan.
Ms Cox was accompanied by Mr Stefan Koeberle, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia, Mr Sudhir Shetty, Sector Director of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management of the East Asia Pacific region and other officials.
Ms Cox expressed her gratitude to the Deputy Secretary-General Pushpanathan and other senior ASEAN officials present at the meeting for their warm welcome. She congratulated ASEAN on the success of the 19th ASEAN Summit and emphasized the importance of ASEAN as a convening body for the region. Such a role would facilitate sharing of knowledge and capacity building in ASEAN countries. She further stated that the World Bank remains strongly supportive of ASEAN as an important regional institution and looks forward to engaging in a more strategic knowledge partnership with ASEAN to share research on global best practice in development across the region.
ASEAN and the World Bank have enjoyed a long standing partnership over the years, which was renewed through the ASEAN-World Bank Consultations in 2010 – which resulted in both partners agreeing on a number of key areas of cooperation.
Since then, the cooperation has been growing further through strategic engagement at the regional level. Avenues for collaboration between ASEAN and the World Bank which are currently being explored include knowledge sharing, disaster management and risk insurance, trade facilitation for the newer ASEAN Member States, regional connectivity, food security, and regional integration monitoring. Collaboration in these areas could be developed in the form of analytical work, periodical thematic symposiums, and technical assistance programs.