WASHINGTON, September 15, 2015— The World Bank Group’s (WBG) Board of Executive Directors today approved financing of US$600 million in support of Ethiopia’s continued efforts to improve equitable access to basic services and reinforce accountability systems at the decentralized level.
The WBG’s most recent Poverty Assessment report, completed in 2014, shows that improving access to basic services is one of the key drivers for Ethiopia’s impressive record in reducing poverty in the country over the past decade. Improving equitable access to services—such as in education and health--also promotes long-term growth and is aligned with the WBG’s goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
In recent years, Ethiopia, with support from the WBG, has registered impressive results in basic service delivery. This in turn has helped the country to make good progress towards, and even achieve, several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) particularly on addressing gender parity in primary education, reducing child mortality, and fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria, as well access to universal primary education.
Going forward, the WBG program supports the Government of Ethiopia in a new framework for engagement on decentralized basic services, which has been identified as a priority for planning under the new Sustainable Development Goals. Building on almost 10 years of support to basic services, the WBG will leverage the government’s own program of block grant financing for basic services to promote equity, enhance capacity, and institutionalize critical systems for service delivery, especially at the local level.
The program will build on the success that has been achieved in service delivery over the past decade and builds on lessons by focusing more on ensuring adequate capacity and expertise to deliver services where they are needed most” said, Guang Zhe Chen Ag. World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia.
The Enhancing Shared Prosperity through Equitable Services (ESPES) program is developed as a new framework for engaging in decentralized basic services in Ethiopia. The program, which falls under the WBG’s Program-for-Results (PforR) financing instrument, will use Ethiopia’s own institutions and processes, and link disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of specific results. This will help build capacity within the country, enhance effectiveness and efficiency and lead to the achievement of tangible, sustainable results.
“ESPES introduces a new chapter of service delivery especially in empowering citizens to provide feedback on the quality of services they experience” said, World Bank Qaiser Khan, Project Task Team Leader. “Supporting citizen engagement efforts alongside service delivery programs has the potential to radically improve governance and accountability structures within Ethiopia” he added.
ESPES will be implemented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.