The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved an US$5 million IDA* grant to help the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) strengthen the credibility, transparency and accountability of the Government's management of public finances. The project aims to improve transparency and effectiveness in the use of public resources that will help reconstruct the country's social links, and redirect public resources for social services, such as health, education, and agriculture to projects that benefit the country's poorest people. Today's Public Financial Management and Accountability Project (PFMAP) is intended to have a positive social impact in DRC by improving the public's confidence in public financial management, through steps designed to strengthen budget oversight, improve budget execution and increase the public's access to key fiscal information. Building on other donor and Bank-funded programs, the PFMAP supports public financial management reforms at both central government and in the Equateur, Kasai Oriental and Nord Kivu provinces. The PFMAP will be financed through a Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) administered by the World Bank and executed by the Government of DRC. The project's allocation of US$22.1 million includes US$17.1 million from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID). The Bank will contribute today's US$5 million IDA-grant to the MDTF. "The Democratic Republic of Congo has shown great resilience to decades of instability by posting high economic growth rates in the last three years and the end of the war has created new opportunities for the country to make good use of its vast mineral and water resources," said Eustache Ouayoro, World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo . "The focus of today's project on addressing public financial management challenges, and creating strong and capable institutions will set the foundation for DRC's exceptional resource endowment to be translated into long-term, shared growth and will boost the livelihoods of the country's 71 million, mostly poor residents." The project will focus on reforms such as empowering line ministries to execute the Government's budget, as well as strengthening financial reporting and cash management procedures, internal and external auditing, and public financial management in the provinces. To encourage public oversight of the Government's expenditures, the project supports new tools and procedures to inform people about the processes of preparing, monitoring, and auditing the budget. "By improving financial management transparency, increasing civil society's knowledge of public finances and redirecting funds to boost social service delivery, the PFMAP supports the people's interest in government policies, creates shared growth and improves the quality of life for Congolese in rural and urban communities," said Renaud Seligmann , World Bank Manager of the Financial Management Unit for Africa West and Center. To speed its implementation, today's project will build on the existing implementation arrangements of existing Bank-funded projects such as those aiming to improve governance capacity and public financial management. At the same time, the funds will help link PFMAP activities to ongoing Bank projects in health, education, agriculture, infrastructure and rural development sectors in DRC. "DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita GDP below US$291 ," said Saidou Diop , World Bank Task Team Leader for the project "by strengthening transparency and efficiency in the use of public funds, today's project will help provide the country's poorest people with social services designed to improve health, education and agriculture, and will help put the country on track to live up to its economic potential." * The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world's poorest countries by providing loans (called "credits") and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people's lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa . Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa .
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