Despite its status of middle-income country in terms of GDP, Panama still remains a society of sharp contrasts. The robust economic growth of today is a historic opportunity for progress in reducing poverty and inequality.
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Panama is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, but its growth has not been translated into poverty reduction or economic inclusion. Although between 1997 and 2003 real per capi... Show More +ta gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 1.5 percent per year, poverty fell only by about a half a percentage point, from 37.3 to 36.8 percent. Nearly all (98.4 percent) of the communities in the indigenous areas live in poverty. In this context, a major challenge for Panama was to formulate and implement policies that would translate its solid growth performance into effective and sustainable poverty reduction. SolutionThe government of Panama launched the CCT program, Opportunities Network (Red de Oportunidades), to provide access to basic social services and improve the living standards of the poorest and indigenous groups. The program was part of the government’s efforts to foster a more comprehensive and coherent social protection strategy. The World Bank supported the program through the Social Protection Project. The objectives of the project were to (i) improve the management and operation of the CCT program to enhance its effectiveness in reaching the poorest and indigenous groups, (ii) provide beneficiaries with an incentive framework to increase their participation in the CCT program, which would boost their demand for education and maternal and infant health services, (iii) strengthen the supply of nutrition and child growth promotion interventions in the indigenous areas, and (iv) enhance government capacity to develop coherent and efficient social sector policies and interventions on the basis of evidence.ResultsThe project supported the government’s efforts to improve the management of the Opportunities Network program, provide the beneficiary population with family services and program information, and provide health services to indigenous areas. The main achievements of the project are as follows:Coverage of 75,000 families, with more than 91 percent of children between 5 and 17 years of age enrolled in school.Establishment of a targeting mechanism that allowed the program to reach the poor in an objective and transparent way. More than 90 percent of beneficiaries are in the poorest 40 percent of the population (74.4 percent are in the poorest quintile)Provision of health services to a population previously excluded from vaccinations or health check-ups, due to their geographical or socio-economic conditions: 234,523 beneficiaries received PAISS+N health interventions (immunization and nutrition) in indigenous areas. Establishment of a network of social workers (promotores sociales) that allows for the provision of family support and close contact to address the needs of beneficiary households. The proportion of beneficiaries that have been informed about the program through a visit from a social worker reached 92 percent by October 2013.Bank Group ContributionThe Bank provided financing of US$24 million to support the deployment and training of the network of social workers at the local level and the provision of health services by non-governmental organizations hired by the Ministry of Health. The Bank also provided technical assistance and consultancy services to develop the beneficiary roster, revise the proxy means test, and develop the management information system and define a strategy for the verification of co-responsibilities.PartnersThe Ministry of Social Development was the implementing agency for the Opportunities Network program, and the Ministry of Health was implementing agency of the expansion of health services to rural and indigenous areas. The program was co-financed by a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. Moving ForwardThe new administration is working to develop further the Opportunities Network program and has maintained an active dialogue with the World Bank. As part of this dialogue, the government has requested a follow-up operation supporting a broader agenda to strengthen the targeting and coverage of social programs, and enhance the efficiency of the administration of social programs. This is in line with pending challenges related to the inclusion new families with children in the Opportunities Network, especially in the indigenous communities, and complementing cash transfers with additional social and productive services that promote social inclusion and help beneficiary families to escape poverty.BeneficiariesThe main beneficiaries of the project included the poor and extreme poor households in the Opportunities Network program. These include around 25,000 families in the indigenous territories, 38,000 families in the rural areas and 11,000 families in the urban areas."It’s been helpful to me. For example, at the beginning of the school year, we always receive a payment. Then I always use that money for the school materials for the kids" Beneficiary mother from Chiriqui River, Comarca Ngäbe Buglé (indigenous territory), 2014. Show Less -
In Peru, Jim Yong Kim highlights initiatives aimed at improving educational quality as a way to combat extreme poverty and promote shared prosperityLIMA, May 7th, 2015 – The President of the World Ban... Show More +k Group (WBG), Jim Yong Kim, today highlighted Peru’s efforts in delivering quality education to poor and vulnerable students, and called for further progress as a way to eradicate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity among more Peruvians. President Kim travelled to Peru as part of the Road to Lima, a knowledge exchange initiative that highlights development milestones in advance of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings that will take place in Lima next October.President Kim traveled with the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala, and the Minister of Education, Jaime Saavedra, to the Pasco region to meet with recipients of Beca 18 scholarships and students at a high-performance school in Chontabamba in Oxapampa Province. He talked with the students about their educational experiences and the importance of access to quality education for all Peruvians at all levels.President Kim told the students and school authorities present at the meeting that the schools can “help Peru innovate to improve student performance and teacher training and evaluation,” and contribute to a “better future for Peru” because “better learning outcomes help to build a competitive labor force, to create jobs and to promote inclusive economic growth.” High performance schools offer outstanding poor students the opportunity to attend a boarding school-type institution that provides quality educational instruction and resources to develop their skills. The Beca 18 program helps low income youth access higher education. Both initiatives provide disadvantaged students new opportunities to compete in an increasingly global labor market.Following the visit, President Kim and President Humala talked to the press in Oxapampa, and highlighted Peru’s economic progress. Thanks to a transparent and prudent macroeconomic framework, Peru has managed to stabilize and strengthen its economy.“This impressive and improving track record shows that Peru has much to share with the world about promoting development. This is just one reason why it’s a natural fit to host our Annual Meetings in October. Between now and then, we’ll continue to work closely with the Government on the Road to Lima, a knowledge initiative that, among other things, showcases to the world what Peru, Latin America and the Caribbean countries have taught us about doing development right,” Kim said.This is Kim’s second visit to Peru as President of the WBG. As an infectious disease doctor, Kim worked extensively in the country early in his career. His goal was to provide high quality health services to poor communities close to Lima. His practice included a focus on patients with multiple-drug-resistant tuberculosis. Jim Yong Kim will return to Lima in October to be part of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.-----------------------For more information on the World Bank's work in Latin America and the Caribbean: www.worldbank.org/lacVisit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldbankBe updated via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BancoMundialLACFor our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/worldbank Show Less -
Jim Yong Kim will visit education initiatives with President Ollanta Humala in the Pasco region. His trip is part of the “Road to Lima” program in advance of the World Bank Group’s Annual Me... Show More +etings in Lima in October. LIMA, May 6, 2015 - The President of the World Bank Group (WBG) will visit Peru on May 7th, 2015, to observe the country’s progress delivering quality education to poor and vulnerable students. President Kim will travel with President Ollanta Humala and Education Minister Jaime Saavedra to the Pasco region to meet with recipients of “Beca18” scholarships and students at a high-performance school in Chontabamba in Oxapampa Province. President Kim and President Humala will give statements to the press upon completing their visit to the school.High-performance schools offer outstanding poor students the opportunity to enter a boarding institution that provides quality educational instruction and resources to develop their skills. The Beca 18 scholarship program helps low-income youth access higher education. Both initiatives provide disadvantaged students new opportunities to compete in an increasingly global labor market.President Kim’s visit is part of the “Road to Lima” program taking place in the lead up to the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Lima, Peru, this October. The Road to Lima is a knowledge sharing initiative involving conferences and other activities that highlight development milestones that are essential for emerging economies in the 21st century, from equitable growth, quality education and jobs to efforts to address citizen insecurity. President Kim will return to Lima for the meetings.This is Dr. Kim’s second visit to Peru as President of the World Bank Group. In June 2013, he traveled to Lamay in the Cusco Region where he emphasized the importance of quality education to ending extreme poverty and increasing opportunities for all in Peru and in Latin America. President Kim, an infectious disease physician, worked extensively in Peru early in his career. He aimed to provide top quality health services to poor communities near Lima. His practice included a focus on patients suffering from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Show Less -