Uruguay: New World Bank Group Strategy Focuses on Sustaining Growth with Equity

January 21, 2016

WASHINGTON, January 21, 2016 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today endorsed the new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with Uruguay until the year 2020, which focuses on helping the country maintain its growth with equity achievements in a more complex external scenario.

“Uruguay stands out in the region for having experienced a decade of inclusive growth, favoring environmental and social sustainability,” said Danilo Astori, Minister of Finance and Economy of Uruguay, who added that the new strategy agreed with the World Bank Group “will serve as an important vehicle to align the organization’s efforts with national objectives. We prioritize the contribution of multilateral organizations to Uruguay, and the World Bank Group’s in particular, as part of a debate with global experts on long term challenges, helping the country reduce its vulnerabilities and increasing productivity with innovation, without losing sight that growth must benefit everyone, especially the neediest.”

The strategy of the World Bank Group (WBG) is structured around three pillars: a) increase of resilience to economic and climate vulnerabilities; b) social policies focused on the most vulnerable children and youth and; c) integration into global value chains.

Throughout the duration of this strategy (2016-2020), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD –main branch of the WBG) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC – the WBG arm for the private sector) will work side by side to support national efforts aimed at achieving specific results. IBRD will work with the country to increase the efficiency of public investments and strengthen management capacity in public companies.

Some initiatives will contribute to more efficient logistics and transportation networks via the reduction of operational costs and by promoting increased financing through Public-Private Partnerships. The new strategy will also support the private sector in the sustainable development of key sectors such as agriculture and infrastructure and it will continue IFC’s strong commitment to support the country’s private sector locally and in South-South investments.

The 2016-2020 strategy will also focus on social aspects, such as the promotion of early childhood development, with the goal of increasing early education enrollment rates, reducing the percentage of mothers aged 18 to 29 who neither study, work or look for work and who belong to the poorest 40 percent of the population, and increasing the number of teens aged 15 to 17 who attend a formal educational institution.

“After ten years of growth and social achievements that are a model to the world, Uruguay seems to have reached a point where it wants to revitalize its development model with an increase in efficiency,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. “Productivity is not a simple matter, and there is thus no overall formula, but the main challenge for a country that aspires to continue growing with equity is to generate human capital with the required skills, promoting productivity and innovation, while guaranteeing that the benefits incurred also reach the most vulnerable populations.”

The Strategy being announced today is the result of a widespread process of consultation and exchange, which includes government authorities and technical experts, political parties, the private sector, and civil society.

Note to editors:

The World Bank Group has a portfolio of eight projects in Uruguay totaling US$939 million. Four of these are investment projects. There is also a Results-Based Project for road construction and maintenance, and a loan that serves as insurance, which would become active in case the country faced adverse climate conditions. Lastly, there are two projects worth US$520 million, corresponding to development policy loans, commonly known as contingent lines, which are yet to be disbursed. The new strategy intends to continue innovating with instruments tailored to Uruguay’s specific needs.

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