World Bank Group and African Union Commission Sign New Agreement to Push for Greater Regional Integration in Africa

February 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2013 – African Union Commission Chair Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has visited World Bank Group headquarters in Washington to meet with President Jim Yong Kim and to sign a new agreement with the World Bank to help promote faster regional integration.

Africa’s development agenda is heavily influenced by regional factors such as the large number of landlocked countries and trans-boundary rivers and lakes, as well as the abundant but uneven distribution of clean energy resources.

The new agreement will boost closer engagement between the AUC and Regional Economic Communities on priority programs supported by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA)* in regional agriculture, energy, infrastructure, natural resource management, transport, and intra-African trade in goods and services. 

“Regional integration in transport, power and food is crucial for Africa’s continued growth, and so we are delighted to work more closely with the Africa Union Commission, the continent’s leadership forum to expand the reach and impact of these regional programs to benefit the lives of Africa’s families,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa, who hosted Dr. Dlamini-Zuma at the World Bank Group on Wednesday evening.

“The agreement itself is very important because it is going to help us…to synchronize our work and our planning, eliminate duplications, and use our competitive advantages and synergies. But more than the content of the agreement is the fact that the World Bank, which ordinarily works with countries, is able to work with us as an organization which represents 54 countries.  This is a great step forward and so we are very excited about,” said Dr. Dlamini-Zuma, who took over as Chairperson of the AU Commission in October 2012.

This collaboration is in line with the AU Commission’s current preparation of a Strategic Framework for 2103-2017 to strengthen capacity, effectiveness, and efficiency; promote coordination with member states and RECs; and leverage sustainable sources of funding, among other priorities for the organization.

For its part, the World Bank has committed close to $7 billion in financial support and advisory services since 2003 to help African countries connect to one another more cheaply in areas such as road transportation, mobile telephony and energy generation.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest financing and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

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