More than 700,000 people living in the State of Acre, in the remote Northwest of Brazil’s Amazon Region, will benefit from a program to improve public sector efficiency, particularly in the areas of education and gender equality. The US$ 250 million Strengthening Public Policies for Improved Service Delivery Development Policy Loan was approved by the World Bank Board of Directors.
Acre’s social and economic indicators are below the national average. In 2010, Acre’s GDP per capita was US$ 6,528, less than 60% of Brazil’s average. Moderate and extreme poverty numbers are also higher than in the rest of the country.
In the early 2000’s, the Government of Acre began reforms in its public administration, opening a path to a faster growth. The State had an average GDP growth rate of 6% per year from 2001 until 2010, while Brazil grew at 4.9 % on average during the same period.
“The World Bank has been a key partner in promoting Acre’s integrated development program,” said Sebastião Viana, Governor of Acre. “This is a plan that reconciles conservation of natural resources, use of technology and diversification of economic activities to improve the State’s social and economic indicators, and also to offer bring better living standard opportunities to communities.”
Despite its achievements, Acre continues to face crucial development challenges. Although the rate of school enrollment is high – 93% at the primary level and 58% at secondary level – access to education is uneven in the most isolated municipalities and communities. Illiteracy is also high, at 16.5% for the population above 15, reaching 27.7% in the rural areas.
Acre ranks 16th among Brazil’s 27 states in incidence of domestic violence against women, with a female homicide rate of 4.7 per 100,000 women, above the national average. The State capital Rio Branco is the second most dangerous capital for women in Brazil, with a female homicide rate of 11.9 per 100,000.
“Acre has all the tools necessary to promote improved public service delivery with greater social inclusion,” said Deborah L. Wetzel, World Bank Director for Brazil. “The World Bank is pleased to be a partner in this important phase of consolidation of changes and is very keen to work with Acre to eradicate poverty and to share prosperity.”
The main results to be supported by the Program are:
- Improvement of education indicators by the implementation of a system for evaluating student learning and the introduction of performance agreements for school staff.
- Decreasing violence against women by the adoption of a State gender policy plan.
- More public service delivery efficiency and transparency, through the implementation of an integrated system of planning and strategic management, and the establishment of standardized procedures of expenditure management.
This loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to the State of Acre is guaranteed by the Federative Republic of Brazil and has a final maturity of 26 years, with a 5 year grace period.