|The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors discussed and welcomed Thursday a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) of the World Bank Group with Turkey for 2008-2011. According to a statement by the World Bank, the strategy anticipates World Bank financing for programs of the Turkish government, or guarantee by the government, up to US$ 6.2 billion during the 4-year period.
In addition it provides for financing of private sector investments by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and scope for guarantees against non-commercial risks from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). IFC and MIGA are members of the World Bank Group. The Bank Group's partnership strategy with Turkey is grounded in Turkey's own development agenda -the 9th Development Plan. The goal of the strategy is to contribute to improving the lives and opportunities for all Turkish people so Turkey approaches, over time, the levels of income and development in other OECD countries and in the EU.
'AN OPPORTUNITY FOR TURKEY'
On the other hand, Ulrich Zachau, the World Bank Country Director for Turkey, said Turkey has the opportunity to build on the successful economic development over the past six years and to become one of the most advanced economies and societies in the world, "The new Country Partnership Strategy aims for the World Bank Group to be a partner with Turkey in realizing this opportunity," he told. Zachau said Turkey aims to achieve continued rapid economic growth with equity, and the Bank Group will seek to mobilize the best available technical expertise, international experience, and competitive financing to support Turkey in achieving this goal.
COUNTRY PARTNERSHIP STRATEGY
Turkey's priorities will drive the program of Bank Group support. The partnership will build on Turkey's sound acroeconomic framework and will focus in three areas:
- Improved Competitiveness and Employment Opportunities-including a favorable business environment and broader access to credit for the private sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises; increased competitiveness of Turkish exporters; measures to secure a reliable and efficient supply of energy and strengthen infrastructure; and more and better jobs, including for young people and for both men and women. Shahbaz Mavaddat, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia region, said Turkey has a growing role as an important regional economic power. "IFC will provide financing for Turkish companies to invest in less developed countries in the region," Mavaddat also said.
- Equitable Human and Social Development-including the completion of social security and universal health insurance reform; the ongoing transformation of Turkey's health system; the further expansion and improvement in the quality of education, with a focus on giving students, workers, and employees those skills sought by private employers; and social inclusion and welfare policies to support the disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Turkey.
- Efficient Provision of High Quality Public Services-including the continuing modernization of Turkey's management of public spending and financing; strengthening judicial services; investments in municipal infrastructure and irrigation; an improved cadastre system, and effective disaster preparedness and management.
BENEFITS OF FORMER PROGRAMS
Turkey's projects and programs that the World Bank Group supported under the country strategy for 2003-2007 have already yielded positive results. "For example, Turkey has succeeded in improving basic education, including a substantial increase in girls' school enrollment-and the World Bank is proud to have had the opportunity to support Turkey's basic education program," the bank statement said.
Other results of Turkish projects and programs that the Bank Group helped finance include the structural retrofitting of schools and hospitals to withstand major earthquakes; investments in and credit to private Turkish companies to support innovation, the adoption of technology, and expansion to export markets; targeted assistance to poor families with children to allow children to go to school; the modernization of agricultural practices and policies; and the phase-out
of ozone depleting substances.
"The new Country Partnership Strategy has been prepared in close partnership with the Turkish authorities, and in consultations with the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders. The World Bank Group invites and welcomes ideas and suggestions from stakeholders throughout Turkey for the implementation of the new strategy," the statement also said.