The World Bank on Thursday approved a $150 million loan for Sustainable Urban Development in Colombia.
The money, according to a World Bank press release, will “improve the quality of life for more than 30 million Colombians living in urban centers.” The initiative aims at “improving basic services, productivity and environmental responsibility.”
This is the first of two Public Policy Development loans designed to support the Colombian government’s budget, specifically the National Development Plan. The second loan is expected in 2015.
The World Bank claimed the $150 million will “increase opportunities for disadvantaged people, including access to housing…water and sanitation, urban transport and environmental services for [the] lower-income population living in urban centers.” In addition to aiding the lower class, the money will also be spent on infrastructure projects like better connecting Colombia’s urban centers to the country’s ports, thus improving access to foreign markets.
“Colombia [provides] a vital step in the search for solutions [as to how] cities develop more efficiently [and are] able to grow to [their] full potential and that both represent real engines of sustainable growth,” said Gloria M. Grandolini, the World Bank Director for Mexico and Colombia.
“Among the challenges facing the Government of Colombia [regarding] urban development,” the World Bank press release stated, “are congestion, mobility, disaster risk management, urban environmental protection, housing and basic services, and the redevelopment of cities.”
The World Bank issued a report last week criticizing Colombia’s transportation system, particularly the poor links between cities, as one of the main driving forces making Colombia “uncompetitive.”
This is the latest instance of the “Country Partnership Strategy” where the World Bank provides not just financial support but also gives explicit economic and governmental advice. The World Bank also loaned Colombia $200 million in November in recognition of the government’s “sound fiscal management.” That loan was designed to assist President Juan Manuel Santos and his administration “implement social programs that protect the most vulnerable.”
Colombia’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning Department will be responsible for coordination and implementation of the loan.