The World Bank has become more agile and flexible in responding to small states’ evolving needs and has contributed to the considerable success achieved by small states in several areas:
In Bhutan, under the Private Sector Development Project, which established the Thimphu TechPark, a total of 1,034 secondary and tertiary graduates have been trained. Approximately 804 Bhutanese graduates between the ages of 19 and 24 years, with equal representation between young men and women across Bhutan’s 20 districts, are now working in the IT/ITES sector. The cost to the government per job created under the project has been estimated to be in the range of $1,000, which is highly satisfactory per regional and global standards. Access to all-season feeder roads has been constructed and improved in 100% of the target project areas under the Second Rural Access Project (RAP-2). Travel time to the nearest motorable road has been reduced by 50%.
In Cabo Verde, under the Road Sector Support Project the asset value of the national road network has been increased by around 15% to more than ECV 600 billion. Sustainability is likely to be assured via regular maintenance funded via a newly established Road Maintenance Fund, which is financed by a road maintenance (fuel) levy that went into effect in 2009.
In Djibouti, an ongoing Djibouti Urban Poverty Reduction Project which combined infrastructure investment with social activities and institutional support, improved access to basic infrastructure and community services via the construction of four major roads; creation of 15,000 person-days of short term employment opportunities; increased capacity building of selected institutions through the establishment of a financial and stock management system; and the funding of the City master plan. The Primary Education Support Project supported the country’s second Education Action Plan. The number of beneficiaries in the sites selected more than doubled between 2010 and 2013, to 2,950 students. The ratio of girls to boys increased from 0.55 to 0.88 Training was given to 120 school directors on the use of a pilot tool for monitoring the quality of school management. There was support for the production of textbooks, with the Ministry of Education printing a total of 50,000 basic education textbooks between 2010 and 2012, increasing the percentage of students who have access to textbooks to 96 percent.
In Gabon, the Natural Resource Management Development Policy Loan (NRM-DPL) contributed to the modernization of Gabon’s forest sector. Amongst other the following two quantifiable outcomes can be attributed to the NRM-DPL operation: (i) a sharp rise in the percentage of areas in compliance with sustainable management prescriptions which have moved from 30 percent to 77 percent over the period of the NRM-DPL; (ii) a sharp increase in the recovery rate of the forest revenues which should move from 40 percent in 2005 to 87 percent for the area fees at the end of NRM-DPL.
The Grenada Hurricane Ivan Emergency Recovery Project (2004-2009) was designed to deal with the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan, a Category 3 storm, which struck the Caribbean island in September 2004. The US$10 million project in loans and credits supports the rehabilitation and reconstruction of schools and recovery activities in the health sector. By June 2009, all five of the island’s health facilities were restored to pre-hurricane conditions and 18 schools of 19 target schools were rehabilitated or reconstructed.
The Kiribati Adaptation Program is supporting the country to adapt to the effects of climate change, improving water security and improving coastal resilience. Comprised of low-lying coral islands with population and infrastructure concentrated along the coast, the people of Kiribati are perhaps among the most vulnerable towards effects of climate change such as sea level rise and coastal erosion. The program has helped plant 37,000 mangrove seedlings and construct a seawall to better protect Kiribati’s citizens.
The multi-country Education Development projects implemented in Grenada (2003-2011), St. Kitts and Nevis (2002-2009), St. Lucia (2002-2009) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (2004-2011) sought to increase equitable access to secondary education and improve the quality of teaching and learning through the construction of new schools in under-served areas, as well as through the expansion, upgrade and rehabilitation of existing facilities. The construction of two new schools and the expansion of four others have benefited more than 2,300 children; the transition rate from primary to secondary school increased from 54% in 2000 to 97% in 2007; and the net enrollment rate in secondary schools rose from 64% in 2000 to 81% in 2007.
The HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control projects implemented in Grenada (2002-2009), St. Kitts and Nevis (2003-2009), St. Lucia (2004-2010) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (2004-2010) for a total US$23.5 million aimed at assisting the Government of these countries to control the spread of HIV/AIDS and mitigate its socio-economic impact. The projects were able to reach at-risk groups and the general population with prevention information. Significant progress was also made in expanding counseling and testing services, as well as in the provision of antiretroviral therapy. In the area of prevention of mother-to-child-transmission, St. Kitts and Nevis managed to consistently increase the number of pregnant women reached; St. Lucia achieved zero transmission of HIV from mother-to-child; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines offered these services during pregnancy to all women.
The OECS-Catastrophe Insurance Project (2007-present) has allowed countries to join the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility. The Facility serves as a joint reserve mechanism where participating governments can obtain coverage (insurance) that gives them the ability to access a quick financial payout in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster. Overall, this insurance has been a success, providing the much needed liquidity promptly following a catastrophic weather-related event and has helped reduce the vulnerability of OECS to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change.
The Telecommunications and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Development Project (2005-2009), implemented in Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a total of US$2.7 million, sought to improve access and quality of these services at a more affordable cost. As a result, fixed-to-mobile rates were reduced by 40%. Additionally, monthly rates for domestic and international leased lines decreased over 56% and 78%, respectively; mobile retail rates fell by 67%; and Internet rates at the speed of 1 Mbps from 2009 to 2011 dropped by 28%. The project also increased the use of information and communication technologies among rural underserved communities, persons with special needs, and contributed to improve communications, collaboration, e-learning and research for students.
In disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation, the Samoa and Tonga Post-Tsunami Reconstruction Projects have helped communities rebuild their lives after the powerful tsunami in 2009. In Samoa, the project supported communities to relocate to safer grounds to ensure their safety in the future. Upgrading of 30 kilometers of road has helped approximately 5,000 people improve the livelihoods of tsunami-affected communities.
To strengthen rural population, the Bank is undertaking the Solomon Islands Rural Development Project which has helped over 93,000 people have access to services and infrastructure such as water supply, health centers and schools. The Samoa Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project has helped 2,000 farmers improve produce quality and have better access to markets.
The Solomon Islands Rapid Employment Project provided short-term employment and training amid the economic crisis for urban youth and the women in the capital of Honiara. To date, 250,000 labor days have been created by the project with about 15,000 people benefitting from training and work activities. Approximately 57 percent of total beneficiaries are women and 50 percent youth. The REP is expected to exceed its labor day targets by the end of the project in 2015.