A Year in Review: FY2017

credit: World Bank

GPOBA signed two grant agreements in FY2017, for a sanitation project in Bangladesh and an energy project in the Solomon Islands.

In Bangladesh, poor sanitation and open defecation practices -- along with its being one of the most densely populated countries in the world --  have placed it among the 15 countries with the most deaths due to diarrhea or pneumonia in 2013 (UNICEF 2014). Therefore, improving sanitation and reducing open defecation is one of the priorities of the government of Bangladesh. GPOBA, along with the World Bank and local microfinance institutions and other organizations partnered with the government to support these two goals by providing over 170,000 low-income households in rural Bangladesh access to hygienic sanitation by using commercial sanitation loans.  

In the Solomon Islands, GPOBA signed an agreement to support the expansion of the national grid and the development of mini-grids which is expected to provide electricity to 14,600 people in peri-urban and rural areas.  GPOBA’s 2017 annual report (soon to be released) highlights these and many other projects in the portfolio. The portfolio currently consists of 48 projects in 28 countries. A total grant funding of $239 million, with over $155.5 million disbursed against independently verified achievements of results, has reached over 9.4 million beneficiaries. 

GPOBA’s multi-sectoral focus particularly within low-income and vulnerable populations provide benefits to issues ranging from climate change mitigation, improvements in quality of life and social welfare for the poor, positive outcomes for women, which all help boost broad-based, inclusive growth, supporting the achievements of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition to serving as a catalyst to facilitate financial flows and mobilizing private and commercial financing , by linking the payment of subsidies with measurable results, GPOBA projects can help to ensure quality and accountability in service provision.
The annual report also outlines the significant strategic shifts it is making to expand its line of work into diverse results-based financing options. The three strategic pillars of focus are: blended finance to leverage additional financing to structure blended finance transactions that pool and leverage funds from various sources including commercial and private sector; support to the World Bank’s Program-for-Results initiative; as well as promoting the use of Impact Bonds as an instrument to deliver social services to vulnerable populations in client countries. 
GPOBA also serves as the center of expertise (CoE) on RBF issues. As part of the CoE work lessons learned on project design and implementation are published, a community of practice (CoP) on RBF/OBA is hosted which has recently been expanded to cover the topic of climate change, and several face-to-face knowledge exchange events have been organized. The lessons learned from Bolivia electricity for universal access project as well as Uganda grid-based energy access project have been published. Another important study on RBF in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Resilience and Pro-Poor Financing lens in the Climate Agenda for Cities and Resilience provide lessons on incorporating RBF in the climate agenda. 
GPOBA was involved with many face-to-face events to promote the topic of RBF. One important event has been a South-South Knowledge Exchange workshop held in India provided by the Indonesia team to present how the government of Indonesia used output-based disbursement approaches to improve the implementation of infrastructure projects by local governments funded by the central government. The event was attended by participants from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.  
Looking ahead GPOBA will focus on laying the ground work that will enable it to implement the three strategic pillars on Blended Finance, Program for Results and Impact bonds. These topics will be incorporated in to our CoP and several learning and knowledge events will be organized as part of GPOBA’s 15th Year Anniversary. 

Read Annual Report FY17 online