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World Bank for technical assistance to Maldives

The multi-donor technical assistance programme by the World Bank will target key interventions in Maldives, mainly in capital Male.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 15:48 IST

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank group on Monday launched a multi-donor technical assistance programme for small and medium enterprise (SME) development for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

"The overall aim of IFC-SEDF (South Asia Enterprise Development Facility) is to improve the business environment for SMEs, contributing to broad-based economic growth and to sustainable poverty reduction," a World Bank statement said.

The new programme will operate under the umbrella of the existing SEDF programme and IFC South Asia, which has its regional hub in New Delhi.

"The programme will serve as a catalyst for accelerating the growth rate of the SME sector in these countries," IFC's director for South Asia Iyad Malas said.

Anil Sinha, general manager of SEDF, said: "The programme will apply best practices, tools, and techniques for SME development in Sri Lanka and the Maldives by leveraging the existing knowledge and resources from IFC's SME programmes from around the world and, more specifically, from Bangladesh."

IFC-SEDF will select projects and specific areas of intervention where it can add distinctive value.

The intention is to build local capacity through partnerships with private, semi-private and government entities wherever possible, as well as to promote sustainability.

The programme will initially focus on all areas of Sri Lanka except the northeast; it will expand to the northeast as part of the donor-supported reconstruction process as peace progresses.

In the Maldives, the programme will target key interventions, mainly in capital Male, in view of the small size and spread of the Maldives' economy and the high costs of programme delivery.