Comoros: World Bank Group Partnership Focuses on Expanding the Public Sector and Promoting Shared Growth and Employment

May 6, 2014

Washington, May 6, 2014 - The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors discussed today the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Union of Comoros for the 2014-2017 fiscal years. The Bank-supported program, with financing of US$60 million over four years, will be structured around two pillars: increased public sector capacity and shared growth and increased employment.

The joint World Bank/International Finance Corporation (IFC) strategy aims to build on the successes achieved by Comoros in reaching the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point in December 2012.  “Comoros has reversed years of economic instability thanks to a more stable political environment, better economic management, and implementation of structural reforms, all backed by increased support from development partners,” said Mark Lundell, the World Bank Country Director for Comoros.The challenge now will be to consolidate and build on these gains to strengthen governance and promote private sector growth and job creation.”

Activities under the first pillar of the CPS aim at enhancing public sector capacity to deliver results by helping mobilize and effectively using public resources and strengthening awareness in order to address vulnerability at the national and household levels. The second pillar focuses on building the foundation for diversified and sustainable economic growth. The program highlights investment lending to address infrastructure constraints to growth and job creation (energy, telecoms) and reforms that will strengthen private investment in sectors with the potential to generate growth and employment (tourism, agriculture and fisheries).  The program also builds on recent and planned IFC advisory work aimed at strengthening the business environment for private sector investment. 

As a fragile and developing island nation, Comoros faces a number of difficult challenges linked to its small size, geographic isolation and extreme vulnerability to natural disasters including cyclones, floods, and volcanic eruptions,” said Lundell.  “The good news is that the partnership experience of other small island states such as Mauritius and Seychelles shows that it is possible for Comoros to reach middle income status, despite such challenges.”

Strengthening statistical capacity will be an important focus of the strategy since the limited information hampers policy-making and monitoring of progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and poverty reduction. The poverty rate at the household level was estimated at 36.9 percent in 2004 (when the most recent household survey was carried out) and the share of the population with incomes below US$1.25 per day was estimated at 48 percent.

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