With a population of 355 million and the vast majority of people living in middle-income countries, the MENA region came into the Arab Spring with multiple strengths, including a young and educated population, strong resource base, and economic resilience that helped it weather the 2008/9 global financial crisis.
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WASHINGTON, July 24, 2014—The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a loan of US$500 million for a project aimed to expand natural gas access to 1.5 million Egyptian households in eleven gove... Show More +rnorates, including three governorates (Sohag, Qena and Aswan) located in Upper Egypt, where poverty levels are the highest.The Egypt Household Natural Gas Connection Project will support the Egyptian government’s program to replace household consumption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which is mostly imported, with grid-connected natural gas. About 52 percent of the neighborhoods targeted by the project have poverty rates higher than Egypt’s national average.“We are pleased to help improve the delivery of energy services to the people of Egypt,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti. “Conversion to piped natural gas will help give households access to a safer, more reliable and cheaper supply of gas compared to buying LPG cylinders.” Piped gas is considered a more convenient cooking fuel with higher reliability, and better health and safety benefits. The project will be especially helpful to people who have difficulty getting hold of LPG cylinders and transporting them, such as people with disabilities, the elderly, and women from vulnerable income groups, who often have to stand in line for long periods of time to purchase cooking gas."The project will provide financial support to finance the connection charges in disadvantaged areas so that poor households can also connect to the gas grid,” said Husam Mohamed Beides, the project’s Task Team Leader. “We are working closely with the European Union and the French Development Agency to ensure that this project is a success. Currently over 75 percent of Egypt’s households buy LPG cylinders from an inefficient distribution network characterized by persistent shortages, an informal market, and difficult physical conditions for handling cylinders. By the end of the project the number of households connected to the natural gas grid will increase by more than 40 percent from 5.8 million to 8.2 million households.The current portfolio of the World Bank in Egypt includes 25 projects for a total commitment of US$4.9 billion as well as 43 trust fund grants for a total commitment of US$190.2 million. The World Bank finances projects for faster delivery of benefits to the people of Egypt in key sectors including energy, transport, water and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation as well as health and education Show Less -
The World Bank has launched the Urban Development and Local Governance Program in support of the efforts of the Interim Government. “For decentralization to work, local governments need to be empowere... Show More +d, capable and accountable,” said Jaafar Sadok Friaa, World Bank Lead Urban Specialist and the leader of team that developed the program and will oversee its implementation. “Our focus will be on building up the financial and managerial capacities of municipalities, so that they are ready to assume full responsibility over their resources, and establishing mechanisms for citizens to fulfill their vital role in decision making and oversight to improve the performance of local governments,” he added.The program is designed to benefit all of Tunisia’s 264 municipalities and their 7 million inhabitants by:improving the system by which funds are transferred from the central government and launching demand-driven institutional and capacity development activities, to strengthen the delivery of municipal infrastructure and services and bring them in line with citizens’ priorities;implementing initiatives to build knowledge and capacity of municipal council members and municipal staff on participatory governance initiatives which will underpin broader efforts to improve municipal performance and build new social contracts between citizens and local government;increasing the participation of local communities including, importantly, women and youth, in planning development activities managed by the municipality at the local level to ensure all groups’ needs are addressed, further fostering citizens’ engagement and contributing to long term sustainability.Special consideration has also been given to the 500,000 Tunisians living in disadvantaged areas, especially in regions with fewer economic opportunities and a slower rate of development than the rest of the country. The program has identified 229 disadvantaged neighborhoods that will benefit from:improved local service delivery by providing municipalities with the resources to finance the upgrading of informal and disadvantaged neighborhoods;direct involvement of the population in setting investment priorities, with, for example, new public lighting and sidewalks in response to demands articulated by women in disadvantaged neighborhoods;temporary employment opportunities generated by the activities funded by the project, which will be targeted specifically at the neighborhoods’’ large number of unemployed young people. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, July 24, 2014 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$300 million program focused on improving the performance and local governance of municipalities, as a first... Show More + step toward supporting the Tunisian national priority of decentralization. For the seven million Tunisians, 70 percent of the total population, who live in cities, the program aims to empower municipalities to make decisions, raise their capacity to deliver services and make them more accountable to their citizens. The Urban Development and Local Governance Program will encompass all of Tunisia’s 264 municipalities, and support the government’s own 2014 to 2019 municipal investment plan. While they vary in size, Tunisian municipalities have historically shared the common characteristics of limited decision-making powers, weak financial and managerial capacity, a relatively limited role in local development and very limited connection with citizens. The challenges are especially acute in municipalities in disadvantaged regions.“Tunisia has embarked on the historic task of reorganizing the way decision making in response to citizen needs and priorities is distributed, putting decentralization at the heart of its new Constitution” said Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Region; “This program will make a vital contribution toward preparing municipal governments for assuming full responsibility for planning and funding their municipal investments and building new social contracts with their citizens”Along with initiatives to strengthen the financial and managerial capacities of local governments to improve their performance, the program will promote the participation of local communities, including women and young people, in decisions on how public funds are allocated. The program will also contribute to improving direct access to municipal services for about 500,000 inhabitants living in disadvantaged communities. “This program has a built in incentive for local governments to raise their standards of service delivery and more fully engage their citizens, by providing progressive rewards for improved performance, said Jaafar Sadok Friaa, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Program. “By including citizens in investment planning and making information on municipal actions available to all, this program also aims to answer the equally strong demand for more voice and participation.”This program forms part of a proposed US$1.2 billion financial package for Tunisia in 2014 announced by the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim; an amount four times more than the Bank’s contribution to Tunisia in the pre-revolution period, and double the amount provided since. Show Less -
IBRD Loan: US$ 300.0 million equivalentTerms: Maturity = 29.5 years, Grace = 6 yearsProject ID: P130637Project Description: The objectives of the project are to strengthen local governments' performan... Show More +ce to deliver municipal infrastructure, and to improve access to services in targeted disadvantaged neighborhoods. Show Less -
IBRD Loan: US $500.0 million equivalent Terms: Maturity = 28.5 years, Grace = 7 yearsProject ID: P146007Project Description: The objective of the project is to assist the country with increasing ... Show More +household access to reliable, lower cost, grid connected natural gas supply. Show Less -
They are also a source of argument. As street vendors effectively control the price of cylinder gas, some take advantage of shortages by hiking it. When LPG cylinders rose to 50 pounds each, Abe... Show More +er’s mother went directly to an official outlet to buy hers. Dozens of men, women and children were queuing. She lost her temper when she noticed employees selling cylinders not just to consumers, but discreetly to street vendors as well.As fuel subsidies have accounted for 18–20 percent of Egypt’s recurrent expenditure in recent years—equal to 5–7 percent of GDP—the country is gradually replacing most LPG use with grid-connected gas. Switching households from highly-subsidized, mostly imported LPG, to locally-produced natural gas, will help lower the government’s bill, with each household representing a saving of US$201 a year.The World Bank has supported the expansion of the grid since 2008 with the Egypt Natural Gas Connection project, which has connected 355,000 consumers to the grid in the Greater Cairo area. It has approved a new US$500 million for the project, which now aims to connect about 1.5 million households in 11 governorates, including three in underdeveloped Upper Egypt, to the grid.“Conversion to piped natural gas will help give households a safer, more reliable and cheaper supply of gas,” said Hartwig Schafer, the Bank’s Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti. "The project will also support reforms in the gas sector with a financial management information system at the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company and its affiliates, as well as helping to establish and operate a new regulator,” said Husam Mohamed Beides, a senior Bank energy specialist and the project’s team leader. Show Less -