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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank Adopts Country Partnership Strategy and Board Approves US$90 Million Grant for Côte d'Ivoire

May 4, 2010




WASHINGTON, May 4, 2010 -- The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today discussed a new four-year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Côte d’Ivoire, focused on improving governance and rebuilding institutions, strengthening the performance of agriculture, supporting private sector development and renewing infrastructure and basic services. Job creation, particularly for millions of unemployed youth, and increasing opportunities for women, are two key cross-cutting objectives.

The Board also approved a Third Economic Governance and Recovery Grant of US$90 million, a development policy operation to be financed by the International Development Association (IDA) and the Bank’s new Crisis Response Window established to mitigate the impact of the global recession. The operation is aimed at supporting critical reforms in public financial management and key economic sectors, including the cocoa, energy and financial sector.

Our new partnership strategy is a reflection of the Bank’s long-term commitment to help Côte d’Ivoire continue implementing its crisis recovery program and take actions to further restore growth and reduce poverty to reach the Millennium Development Goals,” said Madani M. Tall, the World Bank Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire. “The revitalization of the agricultural sector, increased public and private investment, an expansion of and access to reliable and affordable energy supply, and a rehabilitation of transport and urban infrastructure are essential to this recovery.”

The CPS covers Bank activities from July 2009 to June 2013 and includes an indicative program of grant financing from IDA of US$465 million for investment operations and budget support, as well as trust fund financing for a variety of projects, including a proposed US$107 million Education For All program to be administered by the World Bank. The CPS has been designed to support the implementation of Côte d’Ivoire’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRSP) adopted in 2009, itself informed by a broad-based consultative process. The PRSP outlines Côte d’Ivoire’s national program for 2009-2015 to promote growth and reduce poverty with the support of development partners.

The CPS sees the reengagement of the IFC and MIGA in Côte d’Ivoire, with IFC planning to step up its investments in agribusiness, infrastructure (mainly energy) and private sector development, and MIGA in energy and transport. The CPS was prepared in close collaboration with Government, civil society and development partners, including the IMF, UN and European Union, who are also fully engaged in Côte d’Ivoire.

The Board discussions of the CPS and EGRG III come at a time when serious challenges remain in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly to fully implement the Ouagadougou Political Accord and restore economic activity to stem the increase in poverty rates and high unemployment. At the same time, the country boasts enormous potential to once again become the growth pole for the sub-region.

Mr. Tall noted that “the country’s economic recovery will also require improvements in governance and institutions, a cornerstone of our engagement in the country. The Economic Governance and Recovery Grant program is focused on strengthening governance and institutions in sectors that generate important revenues for government, farmers and the private sector or are essential to support basic economic activities and social services.”

The EGRG III supports a program of government reforms which will help the country reach HIPC Completion in the coming year. Reforms in the cocoa sector are aimed at fostering value addition and ensuring that incomes from cocoa contribute to reducing rural poverty. Lastly, in public financial management, the EGRG III supports an important program to strengthen budget preparation and implementation procedures, reporting and transparency.

The Government has increased pro-poor spending consistent with the PRSP and debt relief by nearly 16 percent in 2009, and pro-poor spending is planned to increase from 34 percent of the national budget in 2009 to 37.7 percent in 2010. The country’s GDP growth is expected to expand 3.0 percent in 2010, down from an estimated 3.8 percent in 2009 before rebounding to 4.8 percent over the period 2011-2014.

The CPS is the first full strategy document prepared by the World Bank Group for Côte d’Ivoire since 1997. Previously, an Interim Strategy Note was prepared to signal the World Bank’s reengagement in the country following a four-year suspension of IDA due to payment arrears.

As of April 2010, the World Bank Group portfolio in Côte d’Ivoire consists of nine active projects financed by IDA, representing commitments of US$636 million, with an undisbursed balance of US$292 million. Nine projects in the country are financed by trust funds, representing US$10 million, with undisbursed commitments of US$6 million. IFC’s current total committed portfolio as of March 2010 is US$70 million and MIGA’s existing portfolio consists of one agribusiness project issued in 1999.

Media Contacts
In Washington, DC
Herbert Boh
Tel : (+1 202) 473 3548
hboh@worldbank.org
In Abidjan
Joelle Boa Thiemele
Tel : (+225) 22 400 407
jboathiemele@worldbank.org


PRESS RELEASE NO:
2010/387/AFR

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