Jim Yong Kim has concluded his trip in India with assurances of a continued level of support for the country. But whether soft loans to the Asian nation will continue remains up for discussion.
Over the next four years, the World Bank “will work” to continue providing India as much as $5 billion a year in assistance, Kim said Wednesday (March 13). India has been the bank’s “largest client,” with loans received between 2009 and 2013 amounting to around $26 billion.
The bank will also provide technical assistance and knowledge services to help in the implementation of development programs.
The World Bank’s response follows a government request for the multilateral institution to increase support for the country’s low-income states, home to more than 200 million people. It comes amid increasing perception that India no longer needs aid, given its growing economy. The United Kingdom, one of the country’s top donors, has decided to stop providing new grants to India.
“We hope, especially working through IFC, $3-5 billion can leverage many more billions for investment in India,” Kim said. “We believe that India is a good investment and we will deepen our engagement as much as we can, using every bit of flexibility and creativity to get there.”
Kim, who visited one of India’s poorest states, Uttar Pradesh, in his three-day visit, said the World Bank has an “historic opportunity” to boost poverty reduction in India.
As for India’s eligibility for IDA funding, Kim said: “We are in middle of discussions right now about our IDA strategy…We are going to be as creative as possible to maintain our commitment to India at very high levels.”
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