WASHINGTON, The Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new World Bank Group (WBG) five-year Country Partnership Framework to support Republic of Congo's development objectives for 2020-2025. It focuses on strengthening economic management to improve private sector development and job creation, as well as building human capital to promote inclusive and sustainable growth.
This new strategy is about supporting the Republic of Congo in achieving the needed economic reforms to provide better opportunities and services for all its citizens. Our engagement will focus on fewer but larger, more ambitious and impactful projects, said Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Republic of Congo. Our partnership will focus on promoting economic diversification and will also include projects on women's empowerment and the digital economy.
With the commodity boom, the Republic of Congo experienced steady economic growth more than 5 percent annually between 2004 and 2014. Congo is now showing signs of recovery after the economy contracted for two years on the back of low oil prices. Inequality still remains high and more than 35 percent of the population was living in poverty in 2016. The highly urbanized country faces growing demands from a youthful population. In addition, the disparities and existing inequalities between cities and countryside, and the North and South of the country, as well as the lack of social inclusion are one of the main drivers of fragility.
Congo's performance on human capital is well below the average for lower middle-income countries. A child born in Congo today will be 42 percent as productive as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health in early years.
The private sector plays an important role in creating jobs and growth in emerging economies like the Republic of Congo. The new strategy aims to help mobilize private sector investment and innovation to support the Republic of Congo's government in achieving its development goals, said Aliou Maiga, IFC's Director for West and Central Africa.
Guided by the priorities of the government's National Development Plan and the recent Systematic Country Diagnostic for the Republic of Congo, the World Bank Group's two areas of support are to:
Strengthen economic management and diversification: this will involve modernizing the public sector through greater efficiency and accountability in public resource management; adopting fiscal rules to be able to save more during good times in the face of volatile commodity prices; improving agriculture productivity and commercialization; and improving infrastructure and the business environment to create jobs and foster private sector development.
Build human capital and resilience for inclusive and sustainable growth: this will improve access to and quality of education and health services, expand social protection coverage, and promote women's empowerment to enhance social inclusion. In addition, the strategy will improve the management of forests and other natural resources for sustainable growth and increased resilience.
Currently, the country has 10 projects receiving IDA/IBRD funding, amounting to US$451 million, with a focus on economic management, economic diversification, human capital and social protection, and environment.
Source: The World Bank