The World Bank Group’s (WBG) Executive Directors discussed a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Argentina covering fiscal years 2015-2018 with financial commitments over the period expected to be in the range of 1 to 1.2 billion dollars per year plus 1.7bn for the private sector.
Executive Directors broadly endorsed the strategy’s overall goals designed to sustain social gains and expand social inclusion in Argentina.
The WBG strategy is selectively built around three broad themes: (a) Sustained Employment Creation in Farms and Firms; (b) Improving Availability of Assets for people and households; and (c) Reducing Environmental Risks and Safeguarding Natural Resources. These thematic areas were selected for their contribution to achieving sustained poverty reduction and shared prosperity.
“The World Bank will be supporting Argentina in reaching the most vulnerable in society, especially in the lowest income areas of the country” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Country Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
During the CPS period (2015-2018), the World Bank (IBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the WBG, will support Argentina to achieve specific outcomes.
Some emblematic programs will contribute to reduce average transit time to city centers from poor neighborhoods in two metropolitan areas by 15%; or to increase by 12% the gross value of agricultural production ($/ha) of 80,000 small and medium-size farms in lower-income areas; and will support an increase in effective national healthcare coverage from 28% to 50%.
“IFC will engage with Argentina’s private sector selectively to finance projects with significant development impact, particularly on job creation, SMEs and sustainability”, said Irene Arias, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The new CPS emphasizes knowledge sharing and cooperation through advice and analytical products bundled into programmatic and multi-year engagements. IBRD financial commitments over the CPS period are expected to be in the range of 1 to 1.2bn billion dollars per year.
IFC will focus on export-oriented sectors such as agribusiness, energy, infrastructure, and financial institutions. IFC’s investments during the CPS period are expected to reach 1.7bn dollars to support Argentine’s private sector.
The World Bank’s current portfolio with Argentina includes advisory, knowledge exchanges and financial services with 20 IBRD operations amounting to 4.9 billion dollars in current commitments. IFC has a committed portfolio of 760 million in 52 private sector projects.
Argentina's position was explained by Economy minister Axel Kicillof who said that in the past ten years the country has gone through an historical process of development based on employment and production.
”We are aware that industrial revitalization is the only way for Argentina to achieve sustained and socially inclusive growth. The Government has supported public policies that resulted in this growth process. International financing associated to employment creation, infrastructure development and supporting the needs of vulnerable sectors is a tool to achieve inclusive growth” pointed out the minister.