RIGA - Latvia may change its World Bank status from a "borrower country" to a "donor country" in 2007, the Latvian Finance Ministry reported on Oct. 19.
Finance Ministry spokeswoman Daiga Reihmane told the Baltic News Service that the issue had been discussed in a meeting between Latvian Finance Minister Oskars Spurdzins and Nordic-Baltic Constituency executive director Svein Ass.
Reihmane explained that the procedure for a change in status is launched upon request by the member country. Although Latvia meets all status change requirements, it still depends on technical expertise from the World Bank.
Spurdzins informed Reihmane that, in order to avoid a situation where ministries fail to receive the World Bank's technical assistance, the Finance Ministry has started consultations with all state institutions involved. According to normative acts, which regulate Latvia's participation in world financial organizations, the status decision should be made by the government. Therefore, a formal change of status could take place in 2007.
Reihmane reminded that this year, during the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Singapore, Estonia and Lithuania formally changed their ranks to World Bank donor countries. Slovenia passed a similar procedure in 2004 and the Czech Republic in 2005.
Latvia has been a member of the World Bank since 1992. This summer, the World Bank closed its representation in Latvia because most of the bank's projects had already been implemented and the remaining ones did not need representation. The World Bank has issued funds for 25 various projects and programs worth 360 million U.S. dollars.