The World Bank and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been strong partners for over five decades. Governments in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have benefited from the Bank’s global knowledge and development experience through technical assistance programs offered by the World Bank on a reimbursable advisory services (RAS) basis.
Activities in the Gulf encompass key areas in which the World Bank has extensive global expertise. Currently, the largest programs cover long-term visioning and development planning, economic management, trade and competitiveness, private sector development, governance, transport, energy, urban planning, land management, social protection and labor, health, and education.
The RAS portfolio in the GCC reflects the priorities of the Bank’s Middle East and North Africa region strategy. Improving service delivery, promoting economic diversification, strengthening governance and enhancing the social protection and pension systems are key areas of focus in all GCC countries. The Bank works with the GCC Secretariat General to address cross-cutting issues, particularly in protecting the environment.
The GCC countries have been instrumental to the recovery and reconstruction efforts in the region. These efforts have been strengthened by existing partnerships with the Islamic Development Bank and regional development funds, including the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, Saudi Fund for Development, Kuwait Fund, and Abu Dhabi Fund, aiming to leverage the financial support extended by the GCC countries to the Arab World. GCC countries have also supported the work of the International Development Association (IDA) over many years.
Supporting development efforts in the GCC has contributed to the Bank’s global experience in addressing development challenges in high and middle-income countries, thus helping to deliver global public goods. In fiscal year 2018, the GCC RAS program volume was over US$50 million, and further growth is projected for the current fiscal year.
The GCC Department is managed through three offices: a regional office in Riyadh headed by a Country Director, a country office in Kuwait, and a Country management unit at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Bank is planning to open a country office in the U.A.E. in early 2019.
Last Updated: Oct 01, 2019