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PRESS RELEASEJune 28, 2023

World Bank: Investments to improve Health, Energy and Infrastructure in Argentina

WASHINGTON DC, June 28, 2023 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved three new projects for Argentina: a $400 million project to expand access to clean energy and promote energy efficiency in vulnerable households and communities, a $300 million loan to improve quality and coverage of health services, and a $200 million project to reduce flood risks in cities around the country.

"By working together with the World Bank, we are making progress in addressing policies that improve how the most vulnerable sectors in our country live. The projects approved by the World Bank Board of Directors, will deepen and strengthen our public health system, providing continuity to long-term policies that are central to our people. With the aim to mitigate and adapt to climate change, we will develop infrastructure projects to mitigate the effects of extreme climatic events, such as floods in the Norte Grande region, and we will provide Argentine families with better tools to use electricity efficiently," said Sergio Massa, Minister of Economy of the Argentine Republic.

"We partner with Argentina with investments to help reduce its climate vulnerability to floods and that allow the country to move forward in its energy transition though clean energy and greater efficiency," said Marianne Fay, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. "We continue to support investments in public health so that coverage is more equitable and effective," she said.

The "Clean Energy for Vulnerable Households and Communities" project seeks to ensure that more than 200,000 people in remote rural areas have access to quality electricity services and that energy efficiency measures are implemented in homes and institutions by replacing appliances and installing efficient lighting that benefits more than one million people. Thus, it is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer.

With growing temperatures and increasing extreme weather events, energy efficiency is key to helping avoid supply disruptions and to meet growing demand. The $400 million project will help vulnerable families swap outdated and inefficient appliances like refrigerators and freezers, which account for the bulk of household electricity consumption. Neighborhood clubs and community centers will also be supported to purchase and install efficient lighting equipment to reduce electricity consumption and save money.

The “Program for Effective Universal Health Coverage and National Health System Integration" supports the Integrated National Health Plan 2023-2028, with a focus on improving the equitable and effective coverage of health services for the uninsured population, as well as the general efficiency of the sector. This includes a Program for Results (PforR), a tool that helps address remaining inequalities in access to and quality of services. It will support the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, such as breast cancer; the creation of a pediatric oncology network; the improvement of mental health and gender-based violence services (a challenge that intensified after the COVID-19 pandemic) and it will seek to integrate gender, diversity and climate issues into health services.

The $300 million project will improve the efficiency, coordination, and integration of the health system. Centralized procurement agreements will be put in place to allow for up to 70 percent savings on the purchase of essential medicines and to implement digital prescriptions to minimize prescription errors and facilitate information sharing among health professionals; it will also support the development and implementation of an integrated health services package, that applies to the entire system, covering all Argentines equally.

The "Climate Resilient Infrastructure for Urban Flood Risk Management" project will strengthen climate resilience in flood-exposed cities and support better integrated management benefiting one million people. The infrastructure investments of US$200 million will target the Norte Grande region (Chaco, Formosa, Salta, Jujuy, Tucuman, Misiones) and Buenos Aires and Santa Fe provinces, where most of the vulnerable urban settlements affected by floods are located.

In Argentina, 28 percent of the population is exposed to floods that account for 60 percent of natural disasters. Climate change is increasing their frequency and severity, disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities, especially women and children. In addition to infrastructure works (such as defenses, drainage and pumping stations, etc.), the project includes innovative nature-based solutions and non-structural measures interventions (such as the development of urban flood risk management plans, solid waste management plans, the development of early warning systems, among others). Likewise, activities that promote water governance with a gender approach are contemplated, for example, promoting a greater inclusion of women in hierarchical positions in provincial and municipal agencies.

The three projects are variable-spread loans, repayable in 32 years with sever-year grace period.


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Yanina Budkin
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