As of April 2018, the Bank had an active portfolio in Africa of 605 projects totaling $68.1 billion. Key focus areas include raising agricultural productivity, increasing access to affordable and reliable energy, building resilience to climate change, promoting regional integration, and boosting human capital. The Bank also made important contributions to knowledge this fiscal year.
A few highlights of our development results:
Harnessing technological developments to improve access to clean and reliable energy
At only 37%, energy access in Africa lags behind other regions, placing an unsustainable drag on growth. The Bank is supporting operations in Africa to increase access through grid extension and expansion of the transmission network, innovative off-grid electrification solutions, expansions of renewable generation capacity, development of regional power pools and improvement of service efficiency. In addition, the Bank is supporting the development and adoption of new technologies such as solar storage solutions, smart meters, mobile utility payments, satellite mapping and imaging, high-voltage DC transmission, and solar home systems and mini-grids.
The World Bank Group renewable energy program Scaling Solar is yielding strong results notably making privately funded grid-connected solar projects operational within two years with competitive tariffs. In Zambia, auctions have resulted in some of the lowest tariffs in Africa. Furthermore, several other Sub-Saharan African countries (Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Senegal) have replicated Scaling Solar’s standard processes and documents.
Fostering women’s and youth’s economic empowerment
The Girls’ Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood Program (GEWEL) in Zambia
targets girls and women at two critical phases, supporting 14,000 adolescent girls to attend secondary school and 75,000 working-age women to gain access to grants, trainings and mentoring to increase livelihood productivity. The program adopts a “cash-plus”, productive inclusion model of social protection with linkages across government and private sector to achieve multi-dimensional outcomes promoting increased earnings, gains in education and health, women’s rights, birth and national registration, and financial inclusion. This coordinated approach supports the client’s goal to build a national flagship empowerment program to help combat poverty.
Scaling up social protection and safety nets
The Social Safety Nets Project (SSNP) in Sierra Leone is providing regular income support to extremely poor households across the country. The project is currently supporting 30,000+ households with quarterly payments and workshops on health, nutrition, and basic financial literacy. By harnessing digital technology and mobile phones, the program is able to collect quality data in the field, conduct more efficient targeting and enrollment, increase dynamic inclusion of the registry, deliver timely payments with electronic verification, record grievances, and monitor activities. The approach has been adopted by the government and replicated in other interventions, including during Ebola crisis and the recent mudslides.
Adapting to climate change and building climate resilience
Africa is the lowest carbon emitter and yet is more vulnerable to climate change than other regions. Of the top 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change impact, nine are in Africa. The Africa Climate Business Plan (ACBP) set out a work program to leverage financing in support of climate change adaptation. To date, there are 146 IDA/IBRD projects worth $14 billion contributing to ACBP implementation. In 2017, IFC committed 20 projects with a climate component, worth almost $1 billion.
Investing in the early years
Of the 250 million children under the age of five in Africa, one-third are stunted and less than one-quarter are enrolled in preschool. Early years investments are key to unlocking a country’s human capital potential and driving economic growth and social development. Children who are well nourished, nurtured and protected from stress carry advantages with them that last a lifetime. The World Bank is employing a multisectoral approach to reduce stunting, expand access to early learning and harness social protection opportunities to reach the most vulnerable. In Rwanda, the Bank is supporting a multifaceted approach to address chronic malnutrition through health and nutrition interventions, high quality child feeding and hygiene practices, enhanced access to food through cash transfers and support for improvements in household food security and dietary diversity through biofortification, labor saving technologies, and promotion of micro-nutrient enriched foods.
Modernizing Public Transportation
The World Bank is supporting the city of Dakar in the construction of an 18.3 kilometer fully segregated Bus Rapid Transit system. Approved in 2017 by the Board, the $300 million pilot project is projected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1.5Mt CO2eq. It has the potential for replication and scaling up across Africa cities. Clean, modern, and affordable transport is critical to connecting citizens to jobs in Africa’s burgeoning capitals
Expanding research and data
The Bank also made important contributions to knowledge this fiscal year. The World Bank recently launched a new knowledge platform, the Think Africa Partnership. This multi-donor program will promote economic transformation by supporting knowledge-driven policy making. The program includes a new network of Presidential economic advisors and chief economists across the region, and support to the implementation of the G20 Compact with Africa. The program is also focused on better linkages between African scholarship and policy makers on issues directly related to economic transformation, in order to boost policy impact and enhance the effectiveness of development finance.
Last Updated: May 14, 2018