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17 December 2007
World Bank Group Pledge and Statement at Palestinian Donor's Conference
Press Release No:
Rachel Winter Jones +.188.8.131.52.17.45
Dina El Naggar +.1.
PARIS, December 17, 2007 -
The Managing Director of the World Bank Group, Juan Jose Daboub, participated in the Palestinian Pledging Conference in Paris today. Addressing more than 90 delegates at this major conference, Mr. Daboub expressed support for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) which represents a process around which the PA, Israel and the donor community can coalesce. “
The PRDP is a commitment by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to carry out a fiscal containment policy to be supported by a viable social protection system, including pensions and safety nets
The PRDP also reflects a frank assessment of the PA’s absorptive capacity for project implementation vital for creating the necessary environment for promoting investment and trade and ultimately job growth. Mr. Daboub also emphasized the Quartet Special Representative, Mr. Tony Blair's efforts in advancing the security and development agenda in the region, particularly his set of Quick Impact Projects, to which the Bank has provided direct technical support. Examples of the projects, designed to show tangible and concrete results on the group include youth initiatives, a private enterprise learning fund and the environmentally critical North Gaza Emergency Sewage Treatment Project.
The World Bank has been present in Palestine since 1994 and has to date committed $532 million to 37 projects while leveraging close to $1 billion of donor funds for its operations. The Bank’s current portfolio of 11 projects has disbursed 50% of its current $118 million commitments, with the remainder of $58 million to be disbursed over the first two years of the PRDP period (2008-2009). The Bank’s future assistance program will be tailored to support the PRDP, and will include lending and non-lending services and technical assistance.
The Bank is planning to approve six new projects for a total commitment amount of $59 million between December 2007 and May 2008 for both the West Bank and for Gaza as well as leveraging substantial donor resources to support recurrent and development expenditures across its projects. Having committed all currently available funds, the Bank team plans to make a request to its Board for replenishment of a minimum of $50 million in February 2008.
While constraints continue to challenge private sector development, the IFC continues to actively seek opportunities for economic growth and investments in telecommunications, offshore gas development and possible trade finance facilities to commercial banks. IFC senior management is planning a visit to the West Bank during early 2008 to support the identification of new investment opportunities and broaden the base of partners committed to sustainable growth in the region.
MIGA, the member of the World Bank Group that provides political risk insurance to the private sector, established a Guarantee Fund in 1997, to encourage foreign direct investments by covering perceived political risks. The $30 million fund was created with contributions from Japan, the European Investment Bank, and the Palestinian Authority. The fund has not yet been called upon by potential investors and MIGA is currently exploring ways to restructure the fund to better respond to the local private business environment and related non-commercial risks hampering private sector investments. In addition, MIGA and its partners are designing a political risk guarantee scheme to cover business interruption and shipping delays.