Washington/Beirut August 31, 2010 – The World Bank Group and the Republic of Lebanon have finalized a Partnership Strategy that enables the client Government to borrow between US$375 million and US$550 million over four years to finance its economic and social developoment program .
The World Bank’s Board of Directors, the institution’s 24-seat governing body, supported the Strategy at a special meeting in Washongton on Tuesday (August 31). The Country Partnership Strategy, or CPS, was prepared jointly by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. The document will guide the World Bank Group’s business in Lebanon for the years 2011 through 2014.
The CPS culminated a year-long process that involved extensive collaboration with the Government of Lebanon and consultations with various stakeholders, including parlimentarians and political parties, the private sector, civil society groups, academicians and the donor community. The process resulted in the identification of key areas where the World Bank’s services would be most needed to support the Government in: (i) stimulating growth and fiscal sustainability; (ii) creating a competitive business environment; (iii) improving the economic infrastructure (electricity, water, transport, environment, etc.); and (iv) providing equitable social protection for the entire population.
Shamshad Akhtar, Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, expressed her deep satisfaction with the quality of partnership and cooperation with Lebanon. “This CPS is aligned with the development priorities of the Government of Lebanon. It offers an opportunity to improve social inclusion and the provision of quality public services, while addressing debt management and fiscal stability.” She added: “Lebanon can count on the Bank to support its reform agenda and deliver to its people.”
On behalf of the Lebanon Country team, Hedi Larbi, Country Director for Lebanon, thanked the Government and the stakeholders for the time and effort exerted in shaping the CPS’ strategic objectives. “This is an excellent opportunity for the Government of Lebanon to build on this rare period of political stability to call on the Bank’s financial and technical resources to address urgent development priorities. Aside from the important issues of fiscal adjustment and debt management, to which the Government is committed, Lebanon needs to pay attention to reform vital sectors to provide quality and cost-effective services such as reliable power and clean water supplies.”
The CPS has a two-tier approach, which provides the Government with greater flexibility in its dealings with the Bank. Under tier 1, or the core program, the Bank Group will continue to support the Government through the technical assistance and the implementation of the existing portfolio, which includes Specific Investment Loans and Trust Funds in energy, water, transport, municipal and urban development, social protection, and fiscal management, as well as IFC’s investment and Advisory Services. Tier II allows the Bank to engage more deeply in additional areas where there is traction for reform that aims to strengthening growth potential, increasing fiscal stability and enhance social equity.