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FEATURE STORY

The World Bank Accompanies Guinea Bissau in the Fight Against Poverty

February 25, 2015


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Shipping containers are used as small shops near the harbor of Bissau.  

Daniella Van Leggelo-Padilla/World Bank

RUBANE, February 9, 2015 - The Bissau-Guinean government led by the Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira and a World Bank Group delegation of over fifteen staff recently convened for three days of rich discussions to collaboratively work towards eliminating poverty and boosting shared prosperity in Guinea-Bissau. Unleashing Guinea-Bissau’s tremendous development potential was at the core of the discussions given that 70 percent of Bissau-Guineans are currently estimated to live on two dollars a day. 

Gathered on Rubane Island, the group reviewed in depth the challenges and opportunities confronting sectors such as macroeconomic management, governance, infrastructure, tourism, human development, energy, agriculture, investment climate, biodiversity and extractive industries. The discussions were guided by the World Bank Group’s 2015 Country Economic Memorandum (CEM), a diagnostic study that analyzes the development constraints in each sector and proposed a series of recommendations and options for the way forward. 



" The World Bank is an engaged and committed partner. Over the course of this retreat, we were able to analyze how all the different sectors are able to contribute to greater prosperity, and how we can work together to implement and achieve the goals outlined in our national strategic plan for development "

Domingos Simoes Pereira

Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau


Following a series of presentations highlighting the CEM and the scope of the World Bank Group’s engagement in Guinea-Bissau, the floor was opened for productive exchanges that established the foundation of a road map for Guinea-Bissau’s development. With the recent restoration of constitutional, democratic order following a military coup in 2012, the prospects to turn the page on political instability, anemic growth, and entrenched poverty are favorable.

“The World Bank is an engaged and committed partner. Over the course of this retreat, we were able to analyze how all the different sectors are able to contribute to greater prosperity, and how we can work together to implement and achieve the goals outlined in our national strategic plan for development. The diagnostic report that the World Bank presented, the main tenets of which coincide with our vision, reassures us that we are on the right track,” said Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira.

The importance of stability was emphasized by both delegations as being a key element to Guinea- Bissau’s economic rise. Vera Songwe, World Bank Country Director for Guinea-Bissau emphasized that “stability is crucial for moving ahead as the development and economic costs of a renewed conflict would be disastrous. The government of Guinea-Bissau is showing clear signs that they appreciate stability and we will be there to accompany them as they embark on a new path to prosperity. It was important to build mutual trust and for us to convey to the government and people of Guinea-Bissau how we have been supporting the country’s development before the coup d’état, immediately after the coup d’état, and after the transition period.”

On March 25, 2015, the government will attend an important donor meeting in Brussels, where they will seek support from the international community. The retreat and CEM presentation were a way to provide the government of Guinea-Bissau with a wealth of information to help inform their development strategy over the course of the next several weeks.

“The World Bank’s diagnosis of different sectors, from macro to sectors such as mining, biodiversity, and transport infrastructure – to name a few – was extremely valuable to us. The report also offered a set of action plans of what should be done over the course of the next twelve months and we will be able to use this in our dialogue with other donors and partners in order to begin achieving our development goals,” explained Guinea-Bissau’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Geraldo Martins. 


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