WASHINGTON, March 6, 2012 -- The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today $40 million in grant funding to support progress in key reforms by the Palestinian Authority (PA) that will result in better delivery of services to citizens.
The $40 million Development Policy Grant (DPG) in budget support is part of the World Bank’s ongoing engagement with the PA to consolidate and build on a good track-record of reform achievements. Three previous policy grants totaled $120 million and established a strong foundation of reforms. This latest contribution focuses on improving transparency and accountability and ensuring efficient use of public finances. Some key measures taken by the PA include publicly available information about the budget, a new procurement law, and better management of electricity services in towns and villages throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
"There has been a real commitment to reform which has indeed delivered some improvements in the daily lives of citizens,” said Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza. “But reform alone will not drive the growth that is needed. For that to happen the private sector has to be unleashed and measures must be taken to build confidence and remove restrictions which stand in the way of a free flow of commercial activity."
In addition to the DPG, the World Bank is managing a multi-donor trust fund supported by Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Kuwait, Norway, Poland, and the United Kingdom, which supports the same reform agenda and has channelled more than $700 million in aid since April 2008 to the PA.
“A stable financial environment will contribute to sustainable economic growth,” said Nancy Benjamin, World Bank Senior Country Economist. “The PA has made significant progress towards strengthening its fiscal position and improving its public financial management. The new grant will specifically support those areas as well as government transparency and accountability.”
Also approved today was an $8 million grant for the Gaza Electricity Network Rehabilitation Project to assist the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resource Authority in rehabilitating and expanding the electricity networks in Gaza. In addition, the Board approved $2 million in additional financing to the Municipal Development Program to support municipalities in improving their management and governance.