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31 July 2009
West Bank and Gaza Update
The World Bank Group
A Quarterly Publication of the West Bank and Gaza Office
More Than Just Money
In this Issue:
1. More Than Just Money/ 3
2. Towards Pro-Poor Health Services/ 5
3. Reforming Prudently Under Pressure: Health Financing Reform and the
Rationalization of Public Sector Health Expenditures / 6
4. Safe, Clean and Affordable....Transport for Development/ 13
5. Transport Sector Strategy Note/ 14
6. Towards a Strategic Framework and a Program/ 16
7. Technical Assistance in the Passenger Transport Sector Development/ 17
8. Strategic Assessment on Energy Efficiency and Security for Public Transport
in the West Bank/ 20
9. Towards Enhancing Women's Mobility in the West Bank/ 21
More Than Just Money
The World Bank is most commonly associated with loans and grants to governments and the design, financing and implementation of development projects.
Last year, the World Bank Group’s global budget was $13.5 billion. In the West Bank and Gaza (WB&G), the Bank has directly invested $676 million since 1993 and administered much larger sums of funding from other donors through a number of Trust Funds. The Bank’s current portfolio of development projects in WB&G is valued at $215 million. In July of this year the Bank approved and granted the Palestinian Authority (PA), the NGOs and the municipalities an additional $73.5 million in aid -- $12 million for West Bank solid waste management, $21.5 million for recovery and reconstruction in Gaza and $40 million in budget support. Increasingly, however, project financing is only one part of the World Bank’s global development work. The goal of a world free of poverty will not be realized if our only focus is on transferring capital from industrialized nations to the developing world. No less, perhaps more, important is an honest and in-depth examination of how aid can be used to establish sustainable, independent, economies.
Today, much of our energy is channeled towards what we term AAA -- Analytical and Advisory Assistance. We strive to tap the institution’s long experience and worldwide reach to provide client governments and their bi-lateral donors with the best synthesis of global expertise and local knowledge. World Bank specialists produce a range of standard analytical products as well as reports tailormade to local needs.
This type of work is of particular importance for the World Bank Palestinian Program. The PA has been the recipient of very large amounts of aid for an extended period of time, much of it from bi-lateral donors. While World Bank financing is important, it represents a relatively small slice of total aid to the Palestinians. Under these conditions, the World Bank’s AAA provides a unique and differentiated contribution to the Palestinian state-building. Our analytical products are designed to assist the PA and the donor community to efficiently administer
aid, not just that provided by the World Bank.
This is not a “regular” development environment. Normally, economic development is preceded by conflict resolution. In many respects, the Palestinian situation is not post-conflict. The danger of economic aid fulfilling a humanitarian function and creating dependency rather than catalyzing sustainable development is omnipresent. Much of our analysis aims to provide accessible tools to address this danger.
The Israeli closure regime, significantly tightened since the outbreak of the
in 2000, has stymied the development of the Palestinian private sector -- a key condition for aid to catalyze sustainable economic development. Since 2003, the WB&G Program has produced a comprehensive body of work detailing the negative impact of movement and access restrictions on private enterprise. This analysis has been largely accepted by the international community and even by Israel, though implementation of its recommendations is still in its early stages.
In 2008 we expanded the scope of our analysis beyond physical impediments to movement, to examine the underlying system of institutional and administrative barriers blocking access to economies of scale and natural resources. Over the past year, we have published reports on access to telecommunications frequencies, land in Area C of the West Bank, and water resources. In parallel, we have continued and expanded our AAA work on a range of Palestinian economic sectors. We present two products of this effort -- examining health and transport -- in this publication. Dozens of other reports, on a very wide range of issues and relevant to anyone interested in the Palestinian economy, can be found on our website -- www.worldbank.org/ps.
Country Director, West Bank and Gaza Program
Complete document in PDF format