WASHINGTON (CMC) – The World Bank Group says it has mobilized more than US$14.4 billion in lending and guarantees to support sustainable development and poverty reduction in Latin American and the Caribbean during the 2019 fiscal year that ended last month.
The Washington-based financial institution said this included a combined US$6.4 billion from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA) typically referred to as the World Bank, a record US$6.2 billion from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to promote private sector-led sustainable development, and almost US$1.8 billion in guarantees by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
“We have one overriding priority in Latin America and the Caribbean: to eliminate poverty and improve the lives of the people in the region,” said World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Axel van Trotsenburg.
“That means laying the foundations for inclusive economic growth, investing in people, and building resilience. We are supporting our partner countries to attain their objectives through a multi-billion-dollar financial program, technical assistance, as well as analytical and advisory services. In this context, our credit program jumped by over 40 percent in the last fiscal year.”
The World Bank said it provided financial support for close to 40 new projects during the last fiscal year.
It said these projects focused on policy and economic reforms, inclusion, climate change and human capital development.
The Word Bank said examples of its lending include a US$27 million operation to help Dominica recover from Hurricane Maria, which damaged 75 per cent of its power network, by supporting the construction of a seven-megawatt geothermal power plant.
The IFC saw its lending in the region jump 26 percent in the last fiscal year, while it continued to focus on financing innovative climate-friendly projects and helping increase financial inclusion in the region, especially for small to small medium enterprises (SMEs), many of them women-owned, “which continue to face hurdles to obtain loans to grow their operations,” according to the World Bank.
It said an example of the IFC lending is financial backing to a microfinance institution in Haiti to support SMEs, agribusiness and help foster job creation.
“We have stepped up our efforts in the last 12 months to help the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean carry out new projects that are focused on solving some of the region’s most critical development challenges,” said Georgina Baker, IFC Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“We are working closely with the private sector in the region to help mitigate climate change, create more jobs, more affordable housing, better transportation options, and more livable cities,” she added.
The World Bank said MIGA’s guarantees also increased 11 per cent from 2018.
It said MIGA is the largest multilateral political risk insurance provider, with a mandate of creating development impact by helping drive foreign direct investment to developing countries.
“Preparing the region to better adapt to climate change and helping the financial sector expand credit are priority areas for MIGA,” said MIGA Vice President and Chief Operating Officer S. Vijay lyer. “MIGA will continue to work with clients and governments in these areas and others to help deliver meaningful and tangible development impact.”
Lending from the World Bank (IBRD and IDA) was up by about a third from the previous year. In total, more than 200 projects, most of which focused on policy and economic reforms, inclusion, climate change and human capital development, received IBRD and IDA support across the region, the World Bank said.
“The strong results of the last fiscal year are testimony to the World Bank Group’s deep engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the statement said.
“The World Bank Group will continue to work closely with governments, the private sector, and civil society to promote inclusive growth, and help in creating more jobs and opportunities for all across the region,” it added.
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