The World Bank and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been strong partners for more than five decades. Governments in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have made use of the Bank’s global knowledge and development experience. The World Bank Group also provide technical assistance programs, a large part of which is offered on a Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) basis. The World Bank Group also partners with the GCC countries and institutions to finance development projects in the MNA region and globally.
The RAS portfolio in the GCC reflects the priorities of GCC countries based on core World Bank strengths, the Bank’s Twin Goals, and the strategic direction of the Bank’s Middle East and North Africa region. Improving service delivery, promoting economic diversification, strengthening governance, and enhancing human capital (with a focus on jobs and gender) are key areas of focus in all GCC countries.
Activities in the GCC encompass key areas in which the World Bank has extensive global expertise. Currently, the largest programs cover long-term visioning, development planning and sustainable macroeconomic and fiscal policy management. They include business environment reforms, promoting investment through support to skills development, and fostering a dynamic and entrepreneurial small business sector. Improving human capital is key, including advice on health, education, and social protection systems, as well as programs on gender, urban development and economic management, trade and competitiveness, governance, transport, energy, land management and digital development.
Supporting development in the GCC has contributed to the Bank’s global experience in addressing challenges in high- and middle-income countries, thus helping it to deliver global public goods. While achievements in areas such as women’s empowerment especially moving towards equalizing the rules for female economic inclusion have strong spillover effects throughout the region and beyond.
For many years, GCC countries have supported the work of the World Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries, the International Development Association (IDA). GCC countries have been generous donors both on a bilateral and multilateral basis. They have been instrumental in recovery and reconstruction efforts in the MENA region. These efforts have been strengthened by existing partnerships both with the Islamic Development Bank and with regional development funds, including the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, Saudi Fund for Development, Kuwait Fund, Qatar Fund for Development, and Abu Dhabi Fund. Such partnerships aim to leverage financial support extended by the GCC countries to the Arab World and globally.
The GCC department of the World Bank is managed through four offices: a regional office in Riyadh, headed by a Country Director; a country office in Kuwait; a country office in Abu Dhabi; and a country management unit at the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Last Updated: Mar 24, 2021