Costa Rica/World Bank: New Partnership for 2012-2015 to Support Long-Term Competitiveness

July 15, 2011

Emphasizing Access to Quality Higher Education

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2011 - The World Bank Board of Directors endorsed yesterday the new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Costa Rica, which supports a lending program of up to US$400 million, half of which will support improved access, quality and relevance of higher education in public universities.

With this loan for higher education, the Government of Costa Rica will be able to support the public university system by helping it improve its infrastructure, increase its physical capacity, and ensure better teacher training and research,” said Fernando Herrero, Costa Rica’s Finance Minister.

The 2012-2015 Country Partnership Strategy responds to the government of President Laura Chinchilla Miranda’s agenda, while maintaining a sustained engagement from previous partnerships. The strategy focuses around three clusters: developing competitiveness; improving efficiency and quality in the social sectors; and supporting environment and disaster management. The higher education emphasis builds on extensive analytical work around the links among education, employment, and competitiveness.

The specific focus of the World Bank’s engagement in higher education seeks to support both the Government’s and public universities’ efforts to increase the number of students and graduates in priority disciplines such as those in science and technology. To that end, it seeks to strengthen the quality assurance system, improving relevance ,and developing an information system to measure results, including professions accredited, dropout rates, and quality and quantity of university teaching and research.

In addition, the World Bank will support the Government’s plans to scale up investments in public infrastructure. It will provide technical assistance and share with Costa Rica lessons learned in other successful countries dealing with public-private partnerships. It will also support Costa Rica’s efforts to reach carbon neutrality by 2021 and consolidate its position as a global environmental leader and strengthen its disaster management institutions.

The Bank will support the Government’s efforts to give more prominence to the competitiveness agenda, including strengthening human capital and skills development, logistics, private sector involvement in infrastructure and improvements in the quality of the business environment,” said Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Country Director for Central America.

As part of the new partnership strategy, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will continue working on: renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; manufacturing and agribusiness sectors with an emphasis on companies with plans to increase regional expansion and raise exports; private sector educational and healthcare institutions; financial services; and advisory engagements to support infrastructure and sustainable agribusiness projects.

Media Contacts
In Washington
Marcela Sanchez-Bender
Tel : (202) 473-5863
In Central America
Cesar León
Tel : (502) 2329-8063