World Bank Office
The World Bank Group committed a record $14.7 billion in fiscal year 2013 (July 2012 to June 2013) to support economic growth and better development prospects in Africa, despite uncertain economic conditions in the rest of the global economy.
“The region has shown remarkable resilience in the face of a global recession and continues to grow strongly,” said World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, Makhtar Diop. “Africa is at the centre of the World Bank Group 2030 goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, in an environmentally, socially, and fiscally sustainable manner.”
The World Bank Group, according to a release from its Nigeria office in Abuja, continued its strong commitment to Africa approving $8.25 billion in new lending for nearly 100 projects this fiscal year (FY13).
These commitments include a record $8.2 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 new IDA commitments by any region in the Bank’s history, according to the release.
IFC’s total commitment volume in sub-Saharan Africa, including mobilisation, grew to a record $5.3 billion, 34 per cent more than the year before. Similarly, IFC’s spending on Advisory Services programmes in the region increased to more than $65 million, about 30 per cent of IFC’s total.
This, the release noted, led to increased results in fragile and conflict states and greater impact in IFC’s primary areas of focus: sustainable farming opportunities, access to finance for microfinance clients and individuals, improved infrastructure services, and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Supporting developmentally beneficial foreign direct investment into sub-Saharan Africa is a priority for MIGA. In 2013, the agency issued $1.5 billion in guarantees supporting investments into projects in the agribusiness, oil and gas, power, services, and water sectors, it added.
A significant volume of this coverage is for investments in power generation projects in Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, and Kenya. Sub-Saharan African accounted for 54 per cent of MIGA’s new volume this year -- more than doubling last year’s level of 24 per cent.
The Bank Group’s support focused on major transformational projects in agriculture and power, and also on social safety nets, conditional cash transfers for poor families, job creation programs for young people, and higher education.
In FY13, the World Bank Group increased its focus in Africa on regional drivers of fragility and conflict, especially regarding the Sahel and the Great Lakes regions. In May 2013, during an historic joint United Nations/World Bank Group mission to the Great Lakes, the Bank announced a $1 billion development pledge to help countries in the region provide better health and education services, generate more cross-border trade, and fund hydroelectricity projects in support of the Great Lakes peace agreement.
This sent the message that peace and development are inseparable and must be addressed together and also emphasised the Bank’s commitment to increase its work in states emerging from conflict and its determination to help lift fragile states out of fragility and back on a positive development track.
Climate change is also at the centre of the growth agenda of the Region. Clean energy projects - in hydro, geothermal, solar, and gas - are part of the Bank’s Africa strategy to limit the carbon footprint of growth in the region and harvest enormous untapped potential for development. Many of these current and planned projects benefit from IDA, MIGA, and IFC working together across the World Bank Group to better leverage their development investments in the region.
Africa’s future depends on adapting existing and future technology more rapidly. Large productivity gains are possible through better training of Africans in science and technology, and enhanced agricultural technology. During FY13 the Bank helped to bring higher education, with an emphasis on science, back into the development agenda.
According to the release, “African economies urgently need highly skilled technicians and engineers, especially for energy and infrastructure. They need agricultural scientists; medical workers; and researchers. Quality learning outcomes in primary and secondary education require qualified teachers that only universities can develop.” The Bank continued to build partnerships to support technological education.