Russia: World Bank Board of Executive Directors Discussed a New Country Partnership Strategy for the Russia

December 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2011 –The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today discussed a new Country Partnership Strategy (Strategy) for the Russian Federation for the period 2012 - 2016.

The Strategy serves as the business plan of the World Bank Group in support of Russia’s own development agenda.  Following the previous Strategy, it also continues the shift to innovative modalities of engagement at the global, regional (i.e., less developed countries in ECA), and national (federal and sub-national) levels.  It aligns the World Bank Group’s program with the emerging Russia’s “Strategy 2020” update and other strategic documents, which have already made progress towards a consensus view in the country.  It has been designed to be a demand-driven and flexible document to enable the World Bank Group to provide a timely and sustainable response to changes in Russia’s economic priorities.

A Country Partnership Strategy Progress Report in 2014 will take stock of implementation and will allow the World Bank Group, in consultation with the authorities and other partners, to make mid-term adjustments in the strategy to ensure continued alignment with government priorities.

The Strategy was prepared in close dialogue with the Government of Russia and in consultation with the representatives of federal and local governments, civil society and business communities, think-tanks, academia, and other stakeholders.  The main purpose of the consultations was to discuss progress achieved during the last Country Partnership Strategy period, to identify existing successful approaches to socio-economic development in Russia’s regions, and to learn in which areas or sectors the authorities would desire the most support. 

The 2012 - 2016 Country Partnership Strategy will support Russia’s efforts to:

  • Increase growth and diversification through better management of public finances, improved investment climate and innovation, a stronger financial sector, better infrastructure, and more effective protection of the environment;
  • Expand human potential by strengthening skills and social services through improvements in education, health, and social protection;
  • Deepen Russia’s global and regional role related to its aspirations as a donor and the provision of global public goods; and
  • Improve governance and transparency through more accountability and better service standards in public administration, procurement, and financial management (as a cross-cutting theme).

“The Russian authorities are looking forward to developing further cooperation with the World Bank Group where it can bring in the cutting edge institutional knowledge and best international practices, said Vadim Grishin, Executive Director for the Russian Federation in the World Bank.  “The authorities are open to innovative solutions, and praise the Bank Group’s readiness to align its involvement and activities to Russia’s long-term strategies in areas like social protection, financial intermediation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, governance, and regional development.”

The World Bank has built up and will continue to develop further a larger than usual portfolio of technical assistance and analytical activities, especially reimbursable technical assistance, that help strengthen capacity and transfer knowledge to Russian institutions.  While reimbursable technical assistance has the advantage of being fully driven by the client’s demand, traditional analytical and advisory activities are better able to develop important or emerging topics that the Bank may wish to bring to the attention of the Russian authorities and public. 

“The challenge for the World Bank Group is to retain its cutting-edge skills and knowledge in the areas most relevant to Russia, so as to remain a partner of choice for the Russian Federation,” said Pedro Alba, World Bank Country Director for Russia.  “The recent expansion of our support to the regions in Russia augurs well for the partnership going forward.”

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) aims at promoting sustainable private-sector led growth in Russia to:

  • Improve resource efficiency;
  • Develop essential infrastructure;
  • Increase financial intermediation and growth of medium-sized private sector banks to support the activity of SMEs; and
  • Enhance economic diversification, with a special focus on Russia’s regions.

The IFC expects to leverage its own investment with significant financing from partners. It will also continue to use integrated advisory and investment programs to lay the groundwork for increased private sector investment in strategically important areas.

“Russia represents an important part of IFC’s global business. It has provided a platform for development of innovative programs in the past, including housing and energy efficiency finance,” said Tomasz Telma, IFC's Director for Europe and Central Asia. “The IFC plans to maintain a strong program in Russia with an emphasis on selectivity and focus on areas where it can have a considerable impact on strengthening and diversifying the private sector contributing to the country’s sustainable and long-term growth.”

Russia is an extremely important partner for the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and is a country where MIGA has a long history of providing guarantees for private sector projects.  Looking ahead, MIGA remains committed to encouraging developmentally sound foreign investments in Russia. It will also keep providing investment guarantees to Russian companies going to invest overseas.

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