WASHINGTON, January 31, 2017 – The World Bank Group (WBG) noted progress in its support program to South Africa following a review today of its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for South Africa by the Group’s Board of Executive Directors of its four year framework of proposed support, which it has extended by a year.
Discussed by the Board, the Performance Learning Review (PLR) on the CPS for South Africa for the 2014-2017 WBG fiscal years, updates and assesses improvement in implementing the Group’s proposed support program to the country. The PLR notes progress in the delivery of CPS stated interventions that are aimed at contributing towards reducing inequality, promoting investment and strengthening institutions primary through knowledge exchange and the provision of evidence-based development solutions in support of the National Development Plan goals to tackle the nexus of poverty, inequality, and unemployment.
“This CPS remains a useful framework for engagement with the Government of South Africa and we have seen progress in supporting the delivery of results in eight strategic areas that are calibrated to meet the country’s specific needs, in line with its National Development Plan,” said Ivan Velev, the World Bank Acting Country Director for South Africa. “This work contributes to the World Bank Group’s twin goals of eradicating extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity”.
The CPS’s focus on energy remains crucial to alleviating power constraints, which represent a major bottleneck to growth and job creation in South Africa and the sub-region. The continuing implementation of the US$3.75 billion Eskom Investment Support Project (EISP) is central to this. The Group’s support to the energy sector is complemented through the Multilateral Guarantee Agency (MIGA) investment in transmission mechanisms, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) new long-term investments in renewable energy. Further efforts to find transformative and sustainable renewable energy alternatives will ensure South Africa’s energy mix that can reduce emissions and avoid negative externalities on growth and poverty reduction.
In contributing to reducing inequality, the World Bank support to the Government’s cities support program, strengthening policies to turn cities as engines of growth and providers of jobs has demonstrated notable progress in the time under review. To increase access to basic services, the IFC has been working with International Housing Solutions for the development of affordable housing options in South Africa and to enable investments in green homes to be certified in accordance with the EDGE standard to be piloted across the country.
In the health sector, the World Bank’s regional tuberculosis in mines program contributed to addressing TB among affected communities. Additional projects support financial inclusion and financial stability, rural development, environmental stability and macroeconomic analysis and policy discussions under the South Africa Economic Update series.
The World Bank recently stepped up its financial engagement with investment lending of $93million for Agriculture Financing aimed at supporting previously disadvantaged emerging farmers through the Land Bank Financial Intermediation Project, while MIGA continues helping to catalyze foreign investments in South Africa, and assisting South African investors as they go abroad. With a gross exposure of US$438 million in 11 projects across Africa, South Africa ranks among MIGA’s top ten investor countries, and is also MIGA’s largest middle-income investor country. Through a diversified portfolio, the IFC supported nine new investments in the renewable energy, agribusiness, manufacturing, mining, financial and social sectors. It also supported 10,000 new loans valued at about US$565 million to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and employment of some 43,000 people as well as the provision of US$63 million in short term trade finance to second tier banks.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development.