The World Bank (the Bank) is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for social programs. It provides low-interest loans, interest free credits and grants to developing countries to invest in education, health and infrastructure. The loans can also be used to modernize a country’s financial sector, agriculture and natural resources management. The Bank’s goal is to “bridge the economic divide between poor and rich countries, to turn rich country resources into poor country growth and to achieve sustainable poverty reduction”. Over the course of its partnership with Botswana, the World Bank Group has financed a total of twenty-eight operations since the first operation was approved in 1964. The funded activities focused on improving education, transport, water, and developing rural areas in Botswana. In the past 20 years, Botswana has had little demand for the Bank’s services, in part due to its strong fiscal position and a demonstrated ability to deal effectively with the development challenges the country faced. However, in recent years Botswana has expressed renewed interest in the Bank’s services.
The Bank currently has four major projects in Botswana:
• Botswana national HIV/AIDS prevention support project – US $50 million.
• Integrated transport project – US $186 million.
• Morupule B electricity generation and transmission project – US $379 million.
• Northern Botswana human wildlife co-existence project – US $5.5 million.
In addition to the lending program, the Bank is undertaking analytical work to better understand the apparent contradiction between the strong track record in governance, macro-fiscal management and growth in relation to high levels of poverty, and inequality. It aims to continue identifying key bottlenecks to economic diversification. In support of the economic diversification and competitiveness agenda, a reimbursable advisory services (RAS) project was signed in February 2013. The program covers five pillars jointly identified by Government and the Bank including doing business; industrial and trade policies; infrastructure; access to finance; and skill development.