The Sri Lanka Development Forum getting under way in Paris on
Monday will focus on four areas to act as a major catalyst in deciding on the
level of assistance to Sri Lanka, World Bank Country Director Mariana Todorova
said in Colombo on Saturday.
Those issues concern the steps the government takes in regard to
poverty alleviation, relief, rehabilitation and reconciliation in the context of
the country's north-east problem, good governance and tertiary education on
account of the number of unemployed graduates in the country.
One of the publications to be circulated at the forum is a World
Bank publication titled ''Sri Lanka, Missed Opportunities,'' which analyses the
country's economic situation from the bank's perspective.
Meanwhile, Todorova said that the last time the Sri Lanka
Development Forum met was in May 1998. ''It was scheduled to meet in December
1999, but was postponed due to the presidential election, then it was
rescheduled to meet in May 2000, but was again postponed due to the exacerbation
of the north-east conflict during that period,'' she said.
Todorova said that Sri Lanka has to compete for a limited aid
package compared to bottomless packages made available to other countries from
Asia, Latin America and Africa, whose conditions are similar to those of Sri
''Developing countries whose agendas are closer to the
expectations of donor agencies and countries will get more assistance,'' she
Todorova also said that to Sri Lanka's credit, its government is
the first in a developing country to make a request to the World Bank to
appraise its poverty alleviation program.
She also said that another first to Sri Lanka's credit was that,
at the government's request, it is the first country where the bank is carrying
out development work and relief assistance in conflict areas.
The World Bank has earmarked $30 million for development
assistance in the country's conflict areas in the north and east, as well as to
surrounding border villages.
Todorova said that next year, the bank will map out its strategy
for Sri Lanka covering a period of three years.
''Previously, this was a confidential document, but this time, we shall obtain
the views from civil society, political parties, trade unions, nongovernmental
organizations and the media, before finalizing this document,'' she said.
Todorova further said that the World Bank has classified Sri Lanka as a low
''Soon, Sri Lanka will move out from obtaining concessional
loans to commercial loans from the World Bank,'' she said.