(philstar.com) Updated February 09, 2012 12:07 AM
JAKARTA (Xinhua) – The World Bank has reaffirmed its support for ASEAN’s economic integration, particularly at a time when the Asia-Pacific region is rapidly expanding, a press statement from the ASEAN Secretariat said here on Wednesday.
The strong partnership between the two organizations was strengthened during a meeting at the ASEAN Secretariat between ASEAN’s Deputy Secretary-General for the Economic Community Sundram Pushpanathan and the newly appointed World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Pamela Cox.
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.
He added that ASEAN has given high priority to connectivity, food and energy security, disaster management, as well as narrowing the development gaps in the region, and it 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 Pushpanathan.
She 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.