After helping Benin maintain macroeconomic stability since 2003, the World Bank Friday said it was directing its support to the West African country’s new strategy for growth and poverty reduction.
The Bank said its board of directors has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$40 million to support the country’s poverty reduction strategy.
Through a series of three Poverty Reduction Support Credits (PRSC1-3) since 2003, the Bank provided direct budget support that enabled the country to maintain macroeconomic stability.
The fourth support credit (PRSC4) is the first in a series of programmes that will support the Republic of Benin’s new strategy adopted by the Government in February 2007, the World Bank said.
Like its predecessors, PRSC4 will complement the resources of the Republic of Benin and other development partners to fund priority programmes covering three key areas.
These are: Improving the policy environment for private investments; improving access to basic services and ensuring greater efficiency of public expenditures on human capital formation; and promoting better governance through financial management, civil service and justice reforms.
According to William Experton, the World Bank Task Team Leader of the PRSC4, “the one shift of emphasis most strongly articulated by the Beninese Government in its Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction is the development of a favourable business environment.”
“We believe that through this operation Benin will get back on a steady path to economic growth, as government continues its efforts to promote good governance and reduce corruption.”
The first PRSC for Benin, totalling US$20 million, contributed to the country’s macroeconomic stability through the strengthening of public expenditure management and private sector development.
It also provided crucial expenditure for basic human development programmes in education, health, water and sanitation.
The second one (US$30 million) mainly supported agriculture, rural transport, and the justice sector. The third PRSC (US$30 million) focused on economic growth, good governance, improved public expenditure management, and financial decentralization.
With the newly approved credit, the Government of Benin has received a cumulative total of US$120 million in direct budget support from the World Bank since 2003.