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PRESS RELEASE

Brazil: Social Inclusion of Minority Groups in Bahia

July 30, 2014

Improved service delivery, better fiscal management and territorial planning are the goals

WASHINGTON, July 30 2014 – Promoting Social Inclusion through the improvement of public services is the main goal of a US$ 400 million loan approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors. The Strengthening Fiscal Management and Promoting Better and More Inclusive Service Delivery Project is focused on traditionally vulnerable populations in the State of Bahia. It will benefit more than 11 million who are either afro-descendants, indigenous people or quilombolas, descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves who escaped from plantations.

Home to 15 million people, the State of Bahia, in Northeast Brazil, is marked by strong regional disparities, which are also present at the public sector level. The state’s 417 municipalities have unevenly distributed financial, institutional and technical capacities, directly affecting the quality of public services.

“Recently, we have started a series of changes in order to improve the quality of living in the State of Bahia, especially for those living in poor conditions,” said Jaques Wagner, Governor of the State of Bahia. “This project’s first step is to reform the fiscal system so that we can invest in the integration of the whole State through the implementation of service delivery programs to all populations.”

Among the state’s most vulnerable groups are women, afro-descendants, quilombolas, and the rural and indigenous populations. Official numbers show that the incidence of moderate and extreme poverty in households led by women is 10% higher than those led by men. Also, together, afro-descendants and the indigenous population account for 84 percent of Bahia’s extreme poor.

By reforming the fiscal management system and laying out the institutional framework for territorial planning, the project seeks to increase revenues and improve resource allocation to invest in better public services, such as education and health care, and reduce regional disparities in service delivery. The project will help implement public services especially targeted to these vulnerable populations.

“Promoting inclusion through better service delivery will help the State of Bahia to reduce poverty and improve socio-economic development,” said Deborah L. Wetzel, World Bank Director for Brazil. “This project’s goal is to help the poor exit from extreme poverty. Making public services accessible to all will enable low income people and vulnerable groups to have equal economic opportunities.”

Among the policies supported by the Project are:

  • Improvements in the State Government’s ability to recover tax in arrears;
  • Implementation of Territorial Planning to reduce municipalities disparities;
  • Adoption of new education guidelines for indigenous and quilombola populations;
  • Selection and recruitment of indigenous teachers; and
  • Adoption of a health care program focused on the afro-descendant population.

This loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to the State of Bahia is guaranteed by the Federative Republic of Brazil and has a final maturity of 30 years including a grace period of 4.5 years.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2015/053/LAC