WASHINGTON, May 23, 2014 – Improving the efficiency of service delivery by modernizing financial management is the main focus of the Amazonas Development Policy Loan approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors. The US$216 million loan will also support initiatives to reduce violence and promote gender equality in the state.
Home to the World’s largest rainforest, the State of Amazonas is known for its huge territory of over 1.5 million km², an area equivalent to France, Spain, Sweden and Greece combined. However, the state has poor social indicators and slower economic development than other Brazilian states. Almost half of its 3.6 million inhabitants live under the poverty line (41.7%) and 24.5% of them face extreme poverty, making the State of Amazonas the fourth poorest Brazilian state.
“As part of our development program, we have been investing a lot in actions to reduce poverty, create more economic opportunities for the population and reduce violence rates,” said the Governor of the State of Amazonas, José Melo. “This new program will complement our existing initiatives given that it will open new paths to achieve fiscal and service efficiency.” (TBC)
To improve social indicators, the State of Amazonas has been investing 2.8% of its GDP in social spending, more than the national average of 1.1%. Citizen security is a number one priority given the high rates of violence in the State.
Women are highly vulnerable in this high crime environment. In 2010, Amazonas’s capital Manaus had the third highest female crime rate in Brazil, with 11.5 women murdered per 100,000 people.
“The State of Amazonas has been investing in citizen security to reduce crime and gender based violence,” said World Bank Director for Brazil, Deborah L. Wetzel. “Better management of the State’s financial resources is vital for a more effective response to the challenge of ending violence and offering a better quality of life to the citizens of Amazonas. We are pleased to have worked with the State of Amazonas and the Inter-American Development Bank in developing this project.”
Among the activities supported by the project are:
- Modernization of the tax administration through reforms of the taxpayer database
- Streamlining public financial management and procurement procedures to generate savings, enhance transparency and increase efficiencies
- Integration of agencies responsible for citizen security
- Promotion of the anti-domestic violence law “Maria da Penha” among police entities and citizens
Improved access for violence victims to specialized social assistance networks This loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to the State of Amazonas is guaranteed by the Federative Republic of Brazil and has a final maturity of 25 years, with a 5 year grace period.