World Bank hails its record breaking financial commitment to Africa 

The Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 July 2014

future leaders of AfricaThe World Bank Group says that it has committed a record-breaking $15.3 billion to Sub Saharan Africa’s development, this fiscal year – July 2013 to June 2014 – alone.

According to latest report from the Bank, this staggering sum is supporting shared prosperity in the Region, as well as focusing on increased efforts to reduce poverty.

The Bank Group says it has continued its strong commitment to Africa, delivering $10.6 billion in new lending which supports 160 projects this fiscal year.

This commitment includes a new record of $10.2 billion in zero-interest credits and grants from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

This is the highest level of IDA delivery by any region in the World Bank’s history.

Private Sector-Led Growth and Job Creation

IFC’s work in the private sector in Africa during 2013/2014 has focused on bridging the infrastructure gap, promoting a productive real sector and leading inclusive business approaches to help drive growth and job creation.

drought in africa1IFC investments on the continent amounted to over $4.2 billion, with over $3 billion committed in IDA countries, and almost $800 million in fragile and conflict-affected states.

IFC spent $55 million on Advisory Services programs in the region, 96 percent of which was distributed to IDA countries.

Also in 2013/2014, MIGA issued guarantees of $515 million in support of projects in the oil and gas, power, services, and telecommunications sectors.

The Agency also teamed up with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to establish a $350 million political risk facility. This will support planned investments in sustainable agribusiness, in up to 13 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

The Bank Group says that it has worked collaboratively to tackle development challenges, focusing on regional projects in sustainable energy, irrigation, water management, and food security.

Other areas of need that have received attention, include; job training programs for youth, malaria prevention and other tropical diseases, and social protection for poor families across the region.

Anti-balaka fighters from the town of Bossembele patrol in the Boeing district of BanguiFragility and Emergency Action

In 2013/2014 financial year, the Bank Group focused acted quickly and effectively in emergency situations across Africa.

In response to the crisis in Central African Republic, the Bank delivered emergency development funds of over US$70 million to help restore key government services, and to support food distribution and health services.

It says that major regional initiatives were focused on the challenges of fragility and conflict.

In November 2013, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim pledged $1.5 billion to boost economic growth, and lift the people of Africa’s Sahel Region out of devastating poverty.

Kim’s pledge came during an historic joint trip to the Sahel, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

solar farm3Boosting Energy

Sub-Saharan Africa is blessed with large hydropower resources that can create electricity, yet only 10% of its potential has been harnessed.

According to the Bank, boosting access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a primary objective of its work in Africa.

During the fiscal year 2013/2014, several projects were supported in developing hydropower potential, and providing new forms of sustainable power that could increase energy production, benefitting millions of people in Africa.

In a major push, IBRD, IFC, and MIGA combined forces under a joint Energy Business Plan for Nigeria.

The Plan will support Nigeria’s energy reform program and help increase installed generation capacity by about 1,000 MW, while mobilizing nearly $1.7 billion of private sector financing for Africa’s largest economy.

The report says that, many projects have benefitted from IBRD, IFC, and MIGA working together across the World Bank Group to better leverage their development impact in the region.

According to the World Bank, in 2013/2014, it supported the 80-megawatt Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project in Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania, as well as providing a $100-million grant to Burundi for the Jiji-Mulembwe hydropower project.

Both initiatives will increase electricity generation capacity benefitting millions of people.

investing-african-agriculture-2Improving Agricultural Productivity

The World Bank supports country-led efforts to improve agricultural productivity, by linking farmers to markets and reducing risk and vulnerability; increase rural employment; and make agriculture more environmentally sustainable.

The Bank reports that in 2013/2014, its support included; improving pastoralism through community development and livelihoods in Ethiopia; boosting agribusiness in Senegal; and pushing the envelope on landscape management, notably in the Sahel.

future leaders of AfricaHigher Education for Development

Higher education plays a key role in promoting economic growth and development, especially for Africa’s fastest growing youth population.

As one of the largest financiers of higher education in the region, the World Bank is mobilizing its knowledge and leadership behind countries to champion education.

The World Bank’s new $150-million Africa Higher-Education Centers of Excellence project is funding 19 university-based centers for advanced education in West and Central Africa.

It will support regional specialization among participating universities in mathematics, science, engineering and ICT, aimed at addressing regional challenges.

Makhtar-Diop-World-Bank-Vice-President-for-AfricaWorld Bank Vice President for the Africa Region – Makhtar Diop, says that:

“Africa is making significant progress, and at the World Bank we are stepping up the momentum to innovate and think big, in order to help our clients achieve their development goals.

“We applaud the improved policies and prudent fiscal decisions many governments have made, and we will continue to provide financing through loans and grants, technical expertise and to mobilize our unique convening power to leverage the resources of other development partners.”

For more information about the World Bank Group’s total support to developing countries in 2013/2014:

click here.

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