IFC facilitates Colombian oil revenue community reinvestment

International Finance Corp. has joined Ecopetrol SA and the Colombian School of Public Administration, known as ESAP, to help 18 Colombian municipalities design 57 projects using oil revenues to help improve living standards for as many as 850,000 people.

IFC, a World Bank affiliate, said on Nov. 22 that the projects are the initial phase of an initiative launched in 2010 and supported by the governments of Norway, Spain, and Switzerland. The global financing group and its partners are helping local governments and civic organizations maximize the impact of well-invested oil royalties in five regions that receive the highest income from royalties, it said.

Results so far include the 57 strategic municipal projects, valued at $42 million, to improve water, education, health care, infrastructure and other basic services, according to IFC.

Honorio Henriquez Pinedo, ESAP’s national director, said the program allows academia to work with the public and private sectors to improve municipal officials’ managerial skills so they can transform royalty income their communities receive into high-quality basic services.

“Through this agreement we are able to reach a higher number of municipalities, and focus on oil royalties, an important source of revenue for our country,” he said.

Ecopetrol, Colombia’s largest company and its principal petroleum firm, participated as part of its commitment to make communities where it operates develop and grow, ensuring citizen participation in decisions affecting where they live, IFC said.

The initiative works with regional royalty committees and other civil society organizations to enhance their monitoring capabilities to ensure local governments invest royalties to improve the quality of life in surrounding communities, it added.

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