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Mar 8, 2012

The IDB, a strategic partner of Uruguay

More than five decades of collaboration to improve the quality of life of Uruguayans by promoting sustainable development with equity

Uruguay and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have been strategic development partners for 53 years, a period in which the IDB has been the country’s main source of international financing.

This partnership has resulted in an ongoing process of cooperation that has resulted in projects that have been instrumental in promoting Uruguay’s economic and social development.

Programs have been carried out in many sectors, including education, science and technology (Faculty of Sciences, Plan Ceibal and one computer per student, the National Agency for Research and Innovation, among others), water and sanitation (including a number of projects in Montevideo), transport and communications infrastructure, and energy.

The partnership resulted in joint actions that have enabled Uruguay to maintain solid levels of social investment in times of crisis, and consolidate social spending when times are good.

In the past 10 years, the Bank has financed 52 development programs in Uruguay for a total of $3 billion in the areas of social welfare, education, science and technology, infrastructure, water and sanitation and solid waste, private sector, and public finance management, among others.

The IDB’s present portfolio of operations in Uruguay totals $1.4 billion, of which $1.1 billion is invested in public sector projects and $293 million in private sector projects.

In 2011 the IDB approved loans for Uruguay totaling $532.6 million, which include two private sector operations totaling $265 million. This level more than doubles the average annual number of approvals during the previous seven years. The Bank also approved $3.3 million in technical cooperation for Uruguay, $1.5 million from the Multilateral Investment Fund, and $9.7 million in financing from the Inter-American Investment Corporation.

In 2012 the Bank expects to continue its high level of project approvals for Uruguay in areas such as energy, sanitation, public safety, transportation, promotion of entrepreneurship, and institutional strengthening, among others.

Country strategy

The country strategy agreed upon between the IDB and Uruguay sets forth a financial program for $1.8 billion in sovereign guarantee loans through 2015, in addition to non-sovereign guarantee financing for the private sector and grants for technical cooperation operations.

The country strategy’s priority action areas were identified jointly by the Uruguayan authorities and the Bank, in consultation with civil society and the private sector. They include, among others, the expansion and improvement of transport infrastructure, increased energy supply, broader coverage of sanitation services and waste disposal, increased secondary school retention rates and job training programs, and more investments in science and technology that meet the needs of the productive sector.

The strategy also provides for continued IDB support for the priority areas of poverty reduction, especially for children and youth, strengthening public sector efficiency, and deepening the country's role in the international arena.

Another priority area for the Bank in Uruguay is participation of the IDB Group in promoting private investment in sectors such as agribusiness, transport, and energy. In this regard, the Bank is supporting the public-private partnerships, a mechanism recently adopted by Uruguay, through the use of grant funding aimed at strengthening institutional capacities in the relevant organizations.

Priority areas identified in the strategy are consistent with the principal objectives and sectoral priorities set forth by the Ninth Replenishment of Resources approved by the IDB governors. These priorities provide for increased IDB support for small and vulnerable countries, greater efforts by borrowing countries to reduce poverty and increase equity, and concrete action on climate change, sustainable energy and environmental sustainability, in addition to deepening regional cooperation and integration.

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