WASHINGTON, September 25, 2014 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors endorsed today a new strategy to support the Dominican Republic’s efforts to broaden economic and social opportunities for all Dominicans. The strategy offers a new lending program of US$550 million and advisory services over the next four years 2015-18.
The new strategy was jointly prepared by the Dominican Government, and the World Bank Group (WBG) comprised by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
“Economic growth in the last decade has been strong, but with little impact on poverty reduction. This Country Partnership Strategy with the World Bank Group will support our efforts to achieve a more just country, with better opportunities for all,” said Temístocles Montás, Minister of Economy, Planning and Development.
While the Dominican Republic grew at an average of 6.7 percent per year over the last decade, making the country one of the top performers in the Latin America and Caribbean region, poverty and unemployment have remained high, with 46 percent of rural Dominicans living in poverty and about 30 percent of young people unemployed
“The Dominican Republic has significant potential to create more and better jobs, as well as to improve access to finance, to more reliable electricity and telecommunications, and to better services in education, health, water and social protection, for the poorest 40 percent of the population,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “This new strategy reflects a common effort to boost results on the ground in these areas”, she said.
To achieve these goals, the strategy agreed with the Dominican government identifies five thematic areas for support to
- Improve access to quality public services, including education, health, water and social protection by increasing the number of new teachers recruited under a competitive selection system, doubling the number of children vaccinated, providing access to improved sanitation to approximately 128,000 poor people in Puerto Plata, and strengthening the flagship safety net Progresando con solidaridad.
- Increase access to electricity, telecommunications and other infrastructure by reducing losses in the electricity sector, investing in renewable energy and improving access to more efficient and reliable ICT services through a national broadband network interconnecting 15 provinces.
- Build resilience to external shocks by installing a new telemetric network for managing water resource flows, building and rehabilitating four dams and developing a national integrated information system.
- Improve the business climate by halving the time taken to register new companies, improving access to finance for over 60,000 small and medium entrepreneurs, and facilitating more public private partnerships.
- Promote efficient management of public resources by strengthening fiscal management, budgetary processes and civil society capacity in budget analysis and oversight
A critical part in the strategy will be played by IFC, the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. IFC’s committed portfolio in the Dominican Republic stands at US$208 million. In addition, mobilizations from IFC partners amount to US$97 million. IFC expects to mobilize financing for new investments for an average total of US$50 million per year
“IFC has partnered with the Dominican private sector for more than 50 years in critical areas such as diversifying the energy matrix, increasing access to financing for small and medium entrepreneurs, and supporting new infrastructure,” said Ary Naim, IFC’s Country Head for the Dominican Republic. “With this new strategy, we plan to build on these strong partnerships, helping the country generate productive jobs and continued economic growth.
Support to the private sector is complemented by a MIGA guarantee for US$107.6 million for a toll road to the Northeast of the DR for MIGA’s client, Autopistas del Nordeste