WASHINGTON – The World Bank Group declared its continued support for Latin America and the Caribbean by committing $10.2 billion USD during the fiscal year 2014 (July 2013 to June 2014) to help the regions’ efforts in boosting economic growth. According to the Washington-based financial institution, the figure includes resources from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Development Association (IDA).
Tailoring its diverse financial, knowledge, and convening services to the region’s needs, the World Bank addresses urgent needs through innovative mechanisms like the Climate Investment Funds, project financing and in-depth research. The World Bank’s statement expressed strong support aimed at generating opportunities for all through public and private sector projects that expand public services, improve regional productivity, competitiveness, integration, create new quality jobs and assist those most in need.
More than $5.1 billion was approved by the IBRD and IDA in new loans for the fiscal year 2014, comprising of $4.6 billion from IBRD and $455 million from IDA, which is the bank’s fund for the most impoverished countries. The most IBRD funding went toward infrastructure, transportation, fiscal management and education. The region accounts for a quarter of the total for global new lending by the IBRD.
Haiti, for one, received $103 million in grants from the IDA, while Brazil, Colombia and Mexico were the biggest IBRD borrowers in the region, clocking in with $1.6 billion, $870 million, and $356 million, respectively.
The private sector arm of the World Bank, the IFC, targeted infrastructure as the highest and most urgent of the priorities, especially in light of the area’s growing urban population and growing job market. Showing strong support for this priority, the IFC invested in 34 infrastructure projects with $1.7 billion going toward ports, telecom, energy and renewable energy projects, like hydropower, wind and solar energy.
IFC clients support jobs for over 1.5 million people while providing connections to power, water and telephone services to more than 25 million people.
MIGA, the World Bank’s credit enhancement and political risk insurance arm, provided $402 million in coverage for two Central American projects, insuring Honduras’ Cerro de Hula wind farm and increasing support to the Panama City metro.
Extreme poverty, defined as living on $2.50 a day, has been halved. In this region alone, 80 million people have emerged from poverty in the past decade. Not only this, but the size of Latin America and the Caribbean’s middle class has risen to 34 percent of the population.
– Annie Jung