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Factsheet April 15, 2021

What is IDA?

(Last Updated: December 8, 2021)

What is IDA?

The International Development Association (IDA) is one of the largest and most effective platforms for fighting extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries.

  • IDA is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s 74 poorest countries and is the single largest source of donor funds for basic social services in these countries. 
  • IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing grants, zero to low-interest loans, and policy advice for programs that boost economic growth, build resilience, and improve the lives of poor people around the world.  
  • IDA has helped improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people. In the decade to 2021, 395.9 million children were immunized, 974.9 million people received essential health services, and 113.3 million received access to improved water services.

How is IDA funded?
IDA partners and representatives from borrower countries come together every three years to replenish IDA funds and review IDA’s policies. The replenishment consists of contributions from IDA donors, contributions from the World Bank Group, and financing raised from the capital markets.

  • Since its founding in 1960, IDA has had 19 regular replenishments. IDA19 was replenished in December 2019 with $82 billion, of which $23.5 billion came from IDA donors. 
  • Due to pressures from the COVID-19 crisis, the World Bank frontloaded about half of IDA19 resources in the first fiscal year (July 2020-June 2021) to meet financing needs.   
  • In February 2021, IDA donor and borrower country representatives agreed to advance IDA20 by one year and shorten the IDA19 cycle to two years. In December 2021, donor and borrower country representatives will agree on the policy and financial package for IDA20, which will cover July 2022 – June 2025.

Why is an early IDA20 replenishment necessary?
COVID-19 is a deeper, more synchronized, and more widespread shock than any in IDA’s history. Financing needs are urgent and will remain elevated in the years ahead, so an early IDA20 replenishment ensures that short- and long-term development priorities do not suffer.  

  • IDA countries are moving backwards and fast, erasing decades of hard-won progress—with existing challenges magnified in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.
  • Poverty is rising, and the crisis is lowering incomes and worsening inequality. IDA countries have lost a decade of progress on maternal and child mortality. School closures are deepening learning poverty.
  • Government revenues are falling, and debt vulnerabilities are rising; risks of fragility, conflict, and instability are on the rise; and a food crisis is looming in around one-third of IDA countries.   

How is IDA helping countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?

IDA has delivered a swift, targeted, and agile response of unprecedented scale to the global COVID-19 crisis, while accelerating progress on longer-term commitments and supporting strong development results in IDA countries.

  • IDA commitments between April 2020 and November 2021 reached more than $56 billion on highly concessional or grant terms. A large share of this went to COVID-19 operations, to Fragile and Conflict Situations and to Small Island States, with a focus on saving lives, protecting the poor and vulnerable, creating jobs, saving businesses, and building a more resilient recovery.
  • Grants, which carry no repayments at all, accounted for 34% of Fiscal Year 2021 commitments, which is higher than the grant share of 27% for the whole of the IDA18 cycle.

Does IDA prioritize specific sectors?

IDA is a multi-issue institution and supports a range of development activities that pave the way toward equality, economic growth, job creation, higher incomes, and better living conditions. IDA's work covers education, health, water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate improvements, infrastructure, inclusion, and institutional reforms, among others.

  • IDA19 focuses on five special themes: Climate Change; Fragility, Conflict and Violence; Gender; Governance and Institutions; and Jobs and Economic Transformation. 
  • With the aim of balancing continuity with innovation, IDA20 will maintain the four IDA19 special themes, and elevate Human Capital as the fifth theme.
  • IDA20 introduces a greater focus on crisis preparedness, complemented by an emphasis on governance and institutions, debt, and technology as cross-cutting issues. 
  • IDA will continue building partnerships for impact towards achieving the World Bank’s Twin Goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.  

What is IDA’s impact?

The IDA program has delivered strong progress on its commitments and supported development results where they are most needed. IDA19 achievements include: 

  • A strong response to COVID-19 with nearly 70 countries receiving IDA financing for vaccines, health professionals’ training, and hospital equipment. 
  • In fiscal year 2021 alone, 60 percent of IDA’s climate financing went to adaptation and resilience, and IDA helped 62 countries institutionalize disaster risk reduction plans. 
  • The Sustainable Development Finance Policy introduced in IDA19 is facilitating debt transparency, with 19 countries publishing annual and timely debt reports in fiscal year 2021. 

What are some recent examples of IDA’s work?

Against the unprecedented backdrop of the economic and health crises brought about by COVID-19, IDA responded with speed, scale, and selectivity. Here are some examples of how IDA is empowering countries towards a resilient recovery:

  • Across Benin, Malawi, Cote D’Ivoire in Africa, and across South Asia, IDA is working with partners like the World Health Organization to finance vaccine purchase and deployment, and address hesitancy.
  • In Pakistan, IDA is supporting the government’s efforts to use technology to ensure learning for all, with a dedicated TV channel for educational content.
  • In the Sahel, where climate change is compounding the impacts of COVID-19—IDA is setting up monitoring initiatives, strengthening existing early warning systems, and providing targeted responses to support the agro-pastoral sectors.
  • In West Africa, an Ebola-era disease surveillance project has prepared countries to face the COVID-19 health crisis.
  • In Yemen, IDA is helping millions access healthcare and strengthen the country’s human capital—despite the uncertainties of conflict and fragility.


In Washington D.C.

Patricia da Camara,

Zeria Banda,