WASHINGTON, September 16, 2010 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$15 million loan for Belize to improve service delivery in several municipalities.
"The approval of the Municipal Development Project is welcome news to my government and the people of Belize. This is a clear indication of the reengagement of the Bank with Belize and exemplifies the Bank's commitment to the development priorities and platforms of this government," said Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize.
The Municipal Development Project supports the implementation of the new decentralization policy approved in 2009 by helping town and city councils address critical infrastructure needs in the areas of drainage and traffic management. In addition, the project will support capacity building, so that municipalities are better prepared to carry out their new responsibilities.
“Municipal infrastructure development and improving municipal management are priorities for the Government of Belize,” said Yvonne Tsikata, World Bank Director for the Caribbean. “This project, which is the first lending operation in Belize in the last ten years, focuses on critical infrastructure needs while directly supporting local government transparency and accountability.”
Specifically, the project will support the following activities:
- Municipal infrastructure investments, including drainage and traffic management (roads and signage), as well as public spaces, parks, tourism enhancements, small bridges, markets, and street lighting. These projects will in turn improve the environment and the quality of life in the participating municipalities.
- Technical assistance and capacity building related to investment planning and implementation, which will allow municipalities to develop local growth plans, design and implement financial management systems, and carry out better revenue and traffic management activities.
This project is part of the World Bank’s Interim Strategy Note for Belize, which outlines the Bank’s assistance until June 2011, and supports the country’s strategy to spur economic growth and reduce poverty. The program provides analytical and advisory services to assist the Government in the design and implementation of current policy initiatives, as well as investment lending.
This fixed-spread loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a total term of 25 years, including a five-year grace period.