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FEATURE STORYApril 19, 2024

Spring Meetings 2024: Turning an Ambitious Vision into Impact

World Bank Group 2024 Spring Meetings

Spring Meetings event at the World Bank Group's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

© The World Bank Group

Listen to a recap of the 2024 Spring Meetings

From new partnerships and mobilization tools to bold plans to expand access to health services and electricity, the World Bank Group’s drive to become more ambitious and impact-oriented was on full display at last week’s Spring Meetings.

Under the theme “Vision to Impact,” the meetings showcased the progress the Bank Group has made in transforming itself, speeding up delivery, and working with partners to achieve greater scale.

A better bank, bigger ambition, that’s the game we’re trying to play here,” World Bank Group President Ajay Banga told reporters at a briefing just ahead of the Spring Meetings.

The many initiatives announced over the past year to transform the institution allowed the World Bank Group to make ambitious new announcements at the Spring Meetings. On Wednesday, it announced a commitment to provide 250 million people in Africa with electricity access before the end of the decade—a significant expansion of the institution’s earlier goal. At a flagship event with Ajay, the African Development Bank said it would support an additional 50 million.

The effort could be a life-changing for people in Africa: right now, 600 million people on the continent don’t have access to electricity. That’s a significant barrier to health care, education, productivity, digital inclusion, and job creation. Connecting 250 million people to electricity will require $30 billion of public-sector investment and a commitment to regulatory changes. IDA, the arm of the World Bank that provides grants and low-interest loans, will play a critical role. At the same time, the push to expand electricity access could unlock $9 billion in private sector investment opportunities in distributed renewable energy.

If you make the Bank better and more effective—quicker, faster, simpler to navigate—that allows you to raise your ambition and the kind of things you can do because your ability to execute gets enhanced many times over by the quality of your foundation.
Ajay Banga
Ajay Banga
World Bank President,

The meetings also saw a major commitment to expand the World Bank Group’s work helping countries deliver quality, affordable health services. At an event on Thursday, a new target was unveiled: supporting countries to expand health services to 1.5 billion people. To do it, the Bank Group will focus on three areas: widening the focus from maternal and child health to care throughout a person’s life; moving into harder-to-reach and remote areas; and working with governments to cut unnecessary fees and other financial barriers.

The importance of IDA funding for all these initiatives was a common theme throughout the meetings, and the call for a robust IDA21 replenishment later this year was echoed by many partners. The World Bank has stressed the importance and impact of IDA throughout the past year, along with its efforts to become a better Bank and squeeze more from its balance sheet.

To better confront global challenges, a series of new financial commitments unveiled during the Meetings could potentially generate up to $70 billion over the next 10 years. A group of 11 countries committed $11 billion to the World Bank Group’s Portfolio Guarantee Platform, hybrid capital mechanism, and Livable Planet Fund. These resources could be leveraged six to eight times over a decade by the institution.

Belgium, France, Japan, and the United States pledged to the Portfolio Guarantee Platform, while Denmark, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom made commitments to hybrid capital. Japan is committed to providing the first contribution to the new Livable Planet Fund.

Another Spring Meetings milestone was the announcement of a new platform to strengthen and better coordinate the Bank Group’s co-financing with other Multilateral Development Banks. The Global Collaborative Co-Financing Platform, which will include 10 MDBs, consists of a digital Co-Financing portal to make it easier for partners to share information and identify co-financing opportunities, and a Co-Financing Forum, where participants can discuss best practices and common issues.

“If you make the Bank better and more effective—quicker, faster, simpler to navigate—that allows you to raise your ambition and the kind of things you can do because your ability to execute gets enhanced many times over by the quality of your foundation,” Ajay said at Thursday’s flagship event.