Tuesday, June 12, 2012

U.S. Honors Development Banks for Great Projects

Washington - Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recognized outstanding projects undertaken by the multilateral development banks (MDBs) at the first Development Impact Honors, hosted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington June 7.

The event brought together heads of the multilateral development banks, members of Congress, leaders of the development and business community, and senior U.S. administration officials to recognize and promote excellence in development.

"Given the challenges facing the global economy today, our support for the multilateral development banks has never been more important," Geithner said. "Investments in these institutions are part of this administration's strategy to strengthen economic growth."

The Treasury Department convened representatives of the Treasury, Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Overseas Private Investment Corporation to evaluate 58 MDB projects nominated for the Development Impact Honors. Projects were judged on their focus on priority sectors, innovation in overcoming previous difficulties, quality of preparation, focus on beneficiaries, quality of results, effectiveness of risk mitigation and generation of lessons learned.

"The multilateral development banks have truly stepped up to the challenges of our times," said Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard. "When food prices spiked, we worked with the MDBs to find ways to address global hunger. When the Arab Spring started, we worked with the Banks to help countries remain economically stable so that democratic transitions could deliver on their promise. That is why, when last year we faced a once-in-a-generation decision to provide new capital to the MDBs, the United States worked on a bipartisan basis to provide support for these institutions."


Mali-Senegal Road Project: African Development Bank

Recognizing that an effective transport corridor requires more than a road, this African Development Bank project combined construction of an international road with a radio communication system, allowing operators to report problems; border-crossing stations equipped with scanners to speed crossing times; axle scales along the corridor; awareness training on road safety and transmission of diseases; and socio-economic infrastructure that meets the needs of local communities. As a result of the project, transport times for agricultural products have fallen by half, and shipping charges have dropped significantly.

Afghanistan Telecom Development Company Project: Asian Development Bank

Helping to re-establish critical connectivity in a fragile, conflict environment, this Asian Development Bank project provided private-sector loans and political-risk guarantees to help the Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Limited (Roshan) invest in mobile phone operations throughout Afghanistan. From modest beginnings, Roshan has expanded mobile telephone services to 4.5 million subscribers in more than 200 cities and all of the country's 34 provinces, binding together a country whose communications infrastructure had been fractured by decades of conflict. The program is notable for its emphasis on serving the poor, employing and protecting women, allowing farmers to shop by text for the best prices for their products and facilitating social services. Roshan's products also include a mobile phone wallet and money transfer system to help Afghans access financial services.

Basic Nutrition Program: Inter-American Development Bank

Designed to address the prevalence of acute malnutrition and anemia among poor children under 2 years of age, this Inter-American Development Bank program funded the distribution of an iron supplement and a food coupon to facilitate the preparation of a daily meal for children. Evaluation of the program indicated that it lowered the prevalence of anemia among affected children by 30.3 percent and reduced the prevalence of malnutrition by 49.1 percent. The program was so successful in overcoming previously unsuccessful approaches - which had failed primarily because of unsuitable choices of food for distribution and a lack of follow-up training of community workers - that it was expanded beyond its initial target of reaching 15,000 vulnerable children to serve 41,000 children.

Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA): World Bank Group and Global Environment Facility

The ARPA was designed by the World Bank Group and Global Environment Facility to address deforestation in the Amazon by expanding and consolidating protected areas. The goal was to increase the fraction of the Brazilian Amazon that was under strict conservation use to a minimum of 10 percent, and to improve the effectiveness of management of these areas. The project overcame challenges including poverty, poor coordination between stakeholders, lack of managerial capacity and resources, and the vastness of the territory.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.) 

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