WASHINGTON, December 16, 2020 – The World Bank today approved $100 million from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help the government of Benin strengthen fiscal and debt management, improve the financial sustainability of the energy sector, and foster the development of the digital economy.
This second development policy operation is designed to support the Government’s efforts to promote faster, sustainable growth, which has been stymied in recent months by the coronavirus pandemic. The program will support reforms on tax revenue mobilization and administration and debt management. The reforms will help improve the financial sustainability and competitiveness of the Benin Electricity Company (SBEE), develop renewable energy technologies, and promote a digital sector that is competitive, reliable, and accessible.
“Benin can achieve an economy that is more resilient to shocks and conducive to the creation of more productive jobs and SME innovation.” This financing contributes to that objective by ensuring the sustainability of the electricity sector and by boosting competition in Internet services to improve the quality of services to citizens at more affordable rates,” noted Atou Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Benin. “Although the coronavirus crisis has jeopardized gains made in recent years, it can provide an opportunity to step up the pace of reforms needed for fast and sustainable growth.”
This financing builds on the first operation approved on December 12, 2019 in the amount of $100 million. An additional $50 million in financing was also approved on June 26, 2020 as part of the budget response to the coronavirus crisis.
The new financing was designed in line with the government of Benin’s 2016-2021 Action Plan, the three pillars of which are strengthening democracy and governance, promoting the structural transformation of the national economy, and improving the living conditions of the population. It is part of the Bank’s partnership with Benin and, more broadly, is in line with the maximizing finance for development approach and the Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A) initiative.
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.