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 their use of technical assistance programs, offered by the World Bank on a reimbursable advisory services (RAS) basis.
The RAS portfolio in the GCC reflects the priorities of the GCC countries based on the core World Bank strengths and the strategic directions of the Bank’s Middle East and North Africa region. Improving service delivery, promoting economic diversification, strengthening governance, and enhancing human capital are key areas of focus in all GCC countries.
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, 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 urban development and economic management, trade and competitiveness, governance, transport, energy, land management, and digital development.
The GCC countries have been instrumental to 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, Qatar Fund for Development, 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 Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries, 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 the fiscal year 2019, the volume of the GCC’s RAS program was over US$54 million. Further growth is projected for the current fiscal year.
The GCC Department 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 Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Last Updated: May 04, 2020