WASHINGTON, 18 November 2016 – Increasing access to basic health, nutrition, water and sanitation services, improving management and accountability in public services and expanding infrastructure are the three main goals of the new World Bank Group (WBG) partnership strategy with Guatemala, which was endorsed yesterday by the WBG Board.
The other two core objectives are to promote a favorable environment to increase access to financing among micro, small and medium sized enterprises, as well as strengthening the institutional capacity for climate change management and adaptation.
The new strategy for the 2017-2020 period, also known as Country Partnership Framework, contemplates financial and technical assistance from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), as well as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for private sector development.
“The new country strategy of the World Bank Group, developed jointly with the Government of Guatemala, supports key areas such as transparency and governance, and reflects the commitment of the institution to our country,” said Julio Hector Estrada, Guatemala’s Finance Minister.
The new framework rests on two pillars: one of them seeks to promote the inclusion of vulnerable groups, which implies closing the gap between rich and poor, generated by geographical, ethnic and income differences. Currently, less than half of all Guatemalans have access to primary health care services. Moreover, indigenous populations and the poorest 40 percent of the population are those most affected by stunted growth, caused by malnutrition.
The other pillar of the strategy is to address the bottlenecks to the achievement of sustainable development. According to the Systematic Country Diagnostic, prepared prior to the strategy, one of the reasons behind Guatemala’s poor economic performance is its low rate of investment, less than 15 percent of Gross Domestic Product. In order to achieve the country’s growth potential, it is crucial that Guatemala improve its infrastructure and the challenges associated with rapid urbanization, it also needs to increase tax revenue and the capacity to respond to natural disasters.
“The new Country Partnership Framework is aligned with the objectives of the Guatemala K’atun 2032 Development Plan and focuses on the most vulnerable population groups, where it is important that we act to promote long-term equitable and sustainable development,” said Homa-Zahra Fotouhi, World Bank Representative in Guatemala.
For the first year, the new strategy contemplates a US$450 million credit package aimed at improving the political and institutional framework in order to address the deficiencies of the primary health care system and strengthening the governance of public resources and accountability. The package also includes resources earmarked for improving practices, services and behaviors to reduce chronic malnutrition and improve the transparency and efficiency of the Tax Authority.
Washington: Marcela Sanchez-Bender, +1-202-473-5863, email@example.com
Guatemala: Angels Maso, (503) 7860.8019 firstname.lastname@example.org
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