World Bank establishes headquarters for Central America and Dominican Republic in Panama

The new office in Panama will lead the implementation of the WB’s portfolio in the sub-region, currently worth more than $4.98 billion, which includes 49 projects in health, education, social inclusion, water and food security, sustainable development, disaster risk management and rural, local and agricultural development, among others.

The World Bank (WB) established in Panama its sub-regional office for Central America and the Dominican Republic, from where it will lead the implementation of a portfolio of almost 5,000 million dollars that includes 49 projects in various sectors, informed the multilateral on Monday.

The director of the World Bank for Central America and the Dominican Republic, Michel Kerf, heads this new sub-regional office and will be accompanied by more than 30 specialists in human development, sustainable development, economic policy and operations management.

Due to the global pandemic, the transfer of all staff to Panama will be progressive and will be completed by 2022, said the multilateral, which has representation in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

The new office in Panama will lead the implementation of the WB’s portfolio in the sub-region, currently worth more than US$4.98 billion, which includes 49 projects in health, education, social inclusion, water and food security, sustainable development, disaster risk management and rural, local and agricultural development, among others.

“With a greater physical presence in Panama, we will further strengthen our relationship with Panama, Central America and the Dominican Republic,” said World Bank vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, who is in the Panamanian capital to fulfill his first visit, which will last until August 10.

Jaramillo said that the WB will continue to support “with technical and financial advice and global knowledge to the countries of Central America to address their development challenges and resume a path towards sustained and inclusive growth that provides economic opportunities and prosperity for current and future generations”.

The WB Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean plans to meet with Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo and Minister of Economy and Finance Hector Alexander “to reiterate the World Bank’s commitment to continue supporting the country in its response to the pandemic and the national agenda for inclusive economic recovery.”

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Jaramillo, Kerf and the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) regional manager for Central America, Sanaa Abouzaid, will also meet with Panamanian private sector representatives to discuss the pivotal role that private initiative plays in efforts to end poverty and boost shared prosperity.

In Panama, the World Bank’s portfolio includes four projects, totaling US$460 million, to improve access to services for indigenous peoples, strengthen social protection and inclusion, and support response and recovery from the covid-19 pandemic, the multilateral said in a statement.

Panama’s economy collapsed by 17.9% in 2020 and by 8.5% in the first quarter of this year due to the crisis resulting from the ongoing pandemic. The WB predicted last March that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will expand by 9.9% this year.

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