News Column

World Bank Supports Sub-Saharan Africa's Development With U.S.$15.3 Billion in 2014

July 9, 2014

Bassey Udo



The World Bank Group's support to sub-Saharan Africa's development in 2014 fiscal year was about $15.3 billion.

This was disclosed by its Vice President for the Africa Region, Makhtar Diop, on Tuesday.

Mr. Diop said the commitment of the Group spanning the period between July 2013 and June 2014 was in support of shared prosperity in the region, with particular focus on increased efforts towards poverty reduction.

He said the Group delivered about $10.6 billion in new lending for 160 projects during the year, including a new record of $10.2 billion in zero-interest credits and grants from the International Development Association, IDA, for the poorest countries.

The Vice President, who noted the credits and grants as the highest level of IDA delivery by any region in the World Bank's history, said with the significant progress Africa was making the Group has to step up its momentum to innovate and think big in order to help the continent achieve its development goals.

While applauding the improved policies and prudent fiscal decisions by several governments in the continent, Mr. Diop said the Bank would continue to provide financing through loans and grants, technical expertise as well as mobilise its unique convening power to leverage the resources of other development partners.

The International Finance Corporation, IFC's work in the private sector in Africa during the year focused on bridging the infrastructure gap, promoting a productive real sector and leading inclusive business approaches to help drive growth and job creation.

The Corporation's investments on the continent, he said, amounted to over $4.2 billion, with over $3 billion committed in IDA countries and almost $800 million in fragile and conflict-affected states.

About $55 million of the financing by IFC was spent on Advisory Services programmes in the region, 96 per cent of which was distributed to IDA countries.

During the year, the multilateral investment guarantee agency, 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, OPIC, to establish a $350 million political risk facility to support planned investments in sustainable agribusiness in up to 13 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

The Group worked collaboratively to tackle development challenges and focused on regional projects in sustainable energy, irrigation, water management and food security.

The bank also undertook the issue of job training programmes for youth, preventing malaria and other tropical diseases, and on social protection for poor families across the region.

To ensure that it acted quickly and effectively in emergency situations across the continent, particularly in situations like the crisis in the Central African Republic, the Group delivered emergency development funds of over $70 million to help restore key government services and to support food distribution and health services.

In November 2013, World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, during a joint trip to the Sahel with UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, pledged $1.5 billion to boost economic growth and lift Africa'sSahel Region out of devastating poverty.

Sub-Saharan Africa is endowed with large hydropower resources capable of helping generate electricity, yet only 10 per cent of its potential has been harnessed.

He said boosting access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy was a primary objective of the Bank's work in Africa.

Besides, during the fiscal year, projects focused on developing hydropower potential and providing new forms of sustainable power to increase energy production and benefit millions of Africans.

In a major push, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, the International Finance IFC, and MIGA combined forces under a joint Energy Business Plan for Nigeria.

The plan would 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.

Many projects benefit from IBRD, IFC, and MIGA working together across the World Bank Group to better leverage their development impact in the region.

In 2014, FY14, the Bank also supported the 80-megawatt, MW, Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project in Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania, and provided a $100-million grant to Burundi for the Jiji-Mulembwe hydropower project.

Both initiatives are expected to increase electricity generation capacity benefitting millions of Africans.

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

Projects during FY14 included support for improving pastoralism through community development and livelihoods in Ethiopia, boosting agribusiness in Senegal, and pushing the envelope on landscape management, notably in the Sahel.

Noting the role of higher education in promoting economic growth and development, especially for Africa's fastest growing youth population, the group mobilized its knowledge and leadership behind countries to champion education.

The Bank's new $150-millionAfrica Higher-Education Centres of Excellence project funded 19 university-based centres for advanced education in West and Central Africa, in addition to support to regional specialization among participating universities in mathematics, science, engineering and ICT to address regional challenges.


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Source: AllAfrica


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