World Bank Managing Director for Operations Anna Bjerde expressed strong support for the Philippines’ goal of eliminating poverty in the country by 2040.
Bjerde met with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, and Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil in her two-day visit to the country that ended May 23, 2023.
She relayed the World Bank’s commitment to support the Philippines’ development agenda including climate change, renewable energy transition, food and agriculture, water and sanitation, innovation, and digitalization.
The Philippine government has asked the World Bank for a $70-million Teacher Effectiveness and competencies Enhancement Program, a $400-million Philippine First Financial Sector Reform Development Policy Loan 2, and a $400-million Climate Development Policy Loan this year.
The World Bank is the third biggest provider of official development assistance to the country, behind Japan and the Asian Development Bank, having extended 33 loans and grants amounting to $7.6 billion as of the end of 2021.
“The post-pandemic recovery is underway in the Philippines, with strong domestic demand weathering global headwinds. Since 2022, its economy has been growing rapidly, aided by a substantial reduction in COVID-19 cases that facilitated a full economic reopening. The World Bank is committed to supporting the Philippines achieve long-term inclusive and sustainable growth, attain upper middle-income country status, and eventually become a predominantly middle-class society by 2040,” said Bjerde.
She said the Philippines is one of the countries most affected by climate change and protecting the poor and most vulnerable from disasters will continue to be a priority for the World Bank. Strong typhoons, rising temperatures, biodiversity loss, land and forest degradation hamper economic activities and damage infrastructure, hurting the poor and vulnerable.