Saudi Arabia and the World Bank have been in partnership since 1974 when the Kingdom signed a Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) Agreement establishing the World Bank office in Riyadh. The Saudi RAS program is the oldest and the largest RAS program in the World Bank. Under the TCP agreement, upon KSA Government demand led by the Ministry of Finance, the World Bank brings technical expertise and global knowledge to counterpart entities to support the government’s development agenda. Over the last few years, the TCP has seen significant growth and expansion to cover various sectors including: improving the investment climate, education, health, labor markets, transport, energy, urban planning, economic management and planning, public financial management, business climate, PPPs and SME strategy. The World Bank work is aligned with the Kingdom in strategic projects related to its “Vision 2030” and the National Transformation Program 2020 (NTP).
The engagements focus on strengthening institutional capacity within the government entities and assisting in developing legislation and policies. In addition, the World Bank is working closely with the Saudi authorities on providing support to the Saudi Presidency of the G20. Saudi Arabia is a valued, active partner of the World Bank Group. Through its contributions to select funds, it reinforces its status as a key partner in the effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. Saudi Arabia has its own chair in the Board of Executive Directors and has been a major donor to the International Development Association (IDA) since its inception. The Kingdom currently contributes $117m to IDA and is considering an increased contribution during the IDA19 cycle.
Some of the results achieved through the RAS program include the establishment of an SME center, an in-depth partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Investment leading to a series of reforms related to improved investment climate, support to a number of tourism-related activities development in the country, an electricity sector strategy for the KSA, and programmatic support to the Ministry of Health and the Saudi Health Council.