Urenio Watch Watch: Knowledge Economy

New Knowledge Economy portal in Romania

WASHINGTON, November 29, 2005 – The Board of Directors of the World Bank approved today a loan in the amount of US$60 million for a Knowledge Economy Project for Romania.

The Knowledge Economy project supports the country’s objectives of promoting growth through private sector development, by promoting the use of ICT technology as a means of driving micro- and SME-led growth, building human capital, and reducing poverty in line with the European integration objectives.

The project will promote wider access to the Internet and aims to reduce the disparity between urban and rural areas in terms of digital literacy and Internet use.

Specifically, the project will set up Local Community e-Networks in targeted disadvantaged communities. These e-Networks will operate as tools for education, business and public communications with the Government and will increasingly have private management and financial self-sustainability. At least 200 such centers will be created and will be based in schools and public libraries, contributing to an increase in the digital literacy level in communities and schools.

These centers will also provide services in the area of e-commerce or innovation support for micro and small and medium enterprises and will contribute to the development and promotion of e-government services.

In line with the World Bank’s mission in Romania, this project is expected to ultimately contribute to the development of a knowledge society, better prepared to integrate and to compete on the common European market.

The World Bank has been a committed partner in Romania’s development process since 1990, with loans totaling over US$4.2 billion. The current loan is repayable in 17 years, including a 5-year grace period.

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