The FINANCIAL -- The World Bank Board of Directors approved today a US$700 million
Development Policy Loan (DPL) for the State of Bahia.
According to the World Bank , the initiative will focus on reducing social inequality and promoting productive inclusion, benefiting this Brazilian northeastern state and its 14 million residents.
"We believe this partnership is fundamental to make Bahia a socially equal and self-sufficient State", said Jaques Wagner, governor of the State of Bahia. "Our efforts are aiming to achieve, more and more, better quality of life and the creation of more opportunities for all citizens".
In fact, Bahia has registered a relevant fall in poverty since 2003, averaging over five percent annually, due to the combination of national social policies and high economic growth. But, still it is one of the poorest states in the country.
“Bahia is one of the largest states in Brazil and has enormous opportunities. We believe that this program will strengthen the Government’s ability to deliver services needed by the population and reduce inequities,” said Deborah L. Wetzel, World Bank director for Brazil.
Inequality among women in Bahia is significant. In 2009, the poverty rate among women was 13 percent compared to 11 percent among men, despite the fact that women in Bahia have a higher educational level than men. This disparity is even higher in rural areas, where the percentage of women living in poverty is more than double that of the urban areas. The level of education is also lower: rural women generally have half the years of education than women in urban centers.
Bahia also faces the challenge of rising crime and violence. Currently, it is the third most violent state in the Northeast and ranks 5th in Brazil.
With those challenges in mind, the program’s main areas of focus will be:
The development of primary health care programs, especially maternal care.
Monitoring and evaluating results of the state’s Educational Program Pacto pela Educação, created to improve the quality of education at the primary level.
Provision of educational materials and pedagogical support to the educational system.
Delivery of improved crime and violence prevention programs.
Restructuring the State’s Coordinating Body for Disaster Risk Management and establishing regional units with trained staff and equipment.
Creation of the Bahia Logistics Advisory Committee, aimed at improving transport logistics in the State and developing more cost effective logistic supply chains.
This two tranche loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to the State of Bahia, is guaranteed by the Federative Republic of Brazil and has a final maturity of 30 years, with a six month grace period.