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PRESS RELEASE

Bulgaria and World Bank Group Renew Partnership for Strengthening Institutions and Investing in People

May 19, 2016


SOFIA, May 19, 2016 – The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today endorsed the new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) FY17-FY22 for Bulgaria for the next six years, aimed at strengthening institutions for sustainable growth and investing in people. With Bulgaria as an EU member, the CPF is aligned to coincide with the EU programing cycle.

The CPF marks a renewed engagement with Bulgaria, including the first new lending operations since 2010. The program was well informed by the Systematic Country Diagnostic for Bulgaria, which identified three transformational areas for Bulgaria’s sustainable growth and shared prosperity, as follows:

1. Strengthening the institutional and legal framework for good governance,

2. Boosting the skills and employability of all Bulgarians,

3. Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public spending.

The partnership framework sets out a selective engagement, but with more ambitious objectives in two key areas where there is strong government ownership and demand for World Bank Group support. The program includes a variety of instruments, and a closely coordinated engagement between all World Bank Group organizations, namely the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)*, the International Finance Corporation (IFC)**, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)***, in order to meet Government expectations and achieve results.

The partnership will be reviewed every two years to assess progress and priorities and to recalibrate specific objectives and activities in the light of developments and changes in priorities. For the first two years, the partnership will focus on two areas: strengthening institutions for sustainable growth and investing in people.

Under the first area, the CPF objectives are to: i) improve the resilience and stability of the financial sector; ii) strengthen the electricity sector and improve energy efficiency; and iii) better protect natural assets and improve efficiency in the use of resources. The program includes two lending instruments in support of the Bulgarian Deposit Insurance Fund and National Program for Residential Energy Efficiency for a total amount of EUR 550 million.

The second focus area, namely investing in people, reflects the shared commitment by the Government and World Bank Group to ensure that the benefits of economic growth accrue to all Bulgarians and provide an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the country’s prosperity.

The World Bank Group will build on a long-standing engagement in human development in Bulgaria, spanning education, health, employment, social protection and social inclusion of marginalized communities, especially the Roma. While investing in people is a clear priority for the Government of Bulgaria, using the national budget and EU support, the World Bank will contribute to this agenda by focusing on analytical work and dialogue financed from IBRD’s administrative budget and will leverage work with the European Commission and other partners, as well as other IBRD regional engagements.

“The World Bank Group has been partnering with Bulgaria for more than 20 years in good times and in times of hardship. The new Country Partnership Framework for Bulgaria sets the scene for Bulgaria to reap the benefits both from its EU and World Bank Group membership”, said Arup Banerji, World Bank Director for Operations in the EU.

According to the World Bank Country Manager for Bulgaria, Tony Thompson, “Bulgaria has the potential to achieve EU living standards within this generation. The emergence of a young, energetic and indigenous private sector successfully competing internationally demonstrates the potential of Bulgaria’s economy that has not yet been fully realized”.

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* The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lends to governments of middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries. IBRD

** The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector.

*** The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), created in 1988 to promote foreign direct investment into developing countries, fulfills this mandate by offering political risk insurance (guarantees) to investors and lenders.

Media Contacts
In Sofia
Ivelina Taushanova
Tel : (359 2) 96 97 239
itaushanova@worldbank.org
In Brussels
Anna Kowalczyk
Tel : + 1 (202) 290 9281
akowalczyk@worldbank.org
In Washington
Elena Karaban
Tel : +1 (202) 473-9277
ekaraban@worldbank.org

PRESS RELEASE NO:
2016/ECA/142

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