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PRESS RELEASEFebruary 23, 2024

The African Union Commission and World Bank Seal a New Grant Agreement to Foster Regional Integration

ADDIS ABABA, February 23, 2024 — The African Union Commission (AUC) and the World Bank have marked a significant milestone in their partnership with the signing today of a grant agreement to support the implementation of the Africa Think Tank Platform Project aimed to help think tanks across the continent to produce policy-relevant research on critical cross-border priority issues.

The $50 million project will enable the AUC to create and set up the structures and systems necessary to operate a continent-wide platform for effective cooperation and harmonization on regional policy issues among country-level policymakers, regional associations, and think tanks. Additionally, it will facilitate resource mobilization and the creation of facilities to attract funds from various stakeholders to support the platform's operations. This new project brings the total value of World Bank-supported projects, approved by its Board of Directors in the past six months, to $131 million, all aimed at supporting the implementation of AUC’s strategic priorities.

We express profound gratitude to the World Bank for its leadership and unwavering commitment to Africa's development. This generous grant for the Africa Think Tank Platform Project marks a pivotal step in our partnership and reflects our shared vision for the continent's future,” said Monique Nsanzabaganwa, AUC Deputy Chairperson.The World Bank's support transcends mere contribution; it represents a strategic investment in building the Africa we aspire to, as envisioned in Agenda 2063. On behalf of the African Union Commission, I extend our sincere appreciation and confident anticipation of the transformative impacts our continued collaboration will yield.”   

The African Union and World Bank have a longstanding and robust partnership, working on numerous initiatives aimed at fostering regional integration and propelling Africa’s development forward. Four recent endeavours funded by the Bank support these goals.

The AUC’s Food System and Resilience Program Grant totaling $13 million, supports the harmonization of policy frameworks around trade, groundwater management, and the creation of regional centers of leadership to drive forward African lead approaches to digital technology in agriculture, and knowledge-sharing mechanisms.

The East Africa Girls' Empowerment and Resilience program has provided $12 million to help the AUC to promote a solid and comprehensive policy framework to empower girls and women on the continent, based on the Maputo Protocol which recognizes the need for women’s participation in peacebuilding processes and calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.  

The West Africa Regional Digital Integration Project has granted $6 million to the AUC to help implement the African Union’s strategic vision for creating a continental Digital Single Market by 2030. This will contribute to removing cross border barriers to trade, boost digital connectivity and services, and increase consumers’ access to online content across the continent, multiplying the benefits of digital development through economies of scale and spillovers to create quality jobs.

Lastly, the Building Institutions and Systems to Harness and Realize Agenda 2036 Project totaling $50 million, aims to strengthen the capacity of the AUC and the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) Secretariat in supporting member states to negotiate and implement selected commitments to enhance regional integration and intracontinental trade. It will increase the volume of trade among countries benefiting from the AfCFTA’s preferential tariff regime and will help accelerate the implementation the Single African Air Transport Market and Free Movement of People protocols.

These financings reflect World Bank’s commitment to support regional integration in Africa. “Our commitment is clear: sustainable development in Africa is intrinsically linked to regional cooperation,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa. “We are committed to enhancing our partnership with the African Union Commission to scale development impact, by bringing together our technical expertise and financial resources and the AUC’s political legitimacy to mutual advantage.”

The World Bank’s regional integration portfolio currently amounts to over $23 billion of commitments, with about 90 projects spanning across countries and regional economic communities, enhancing human capital, resilience, connectivity, and market integration. 13 of these projects totaling $280 million are implemented by the AUC and its affiliated institutions, including AFRISTAT, Africa CDC, and the AfCFTA Secretariat, to help respond to current and future public health threats, harmonize statistical systems, and to create an enabling environment for women’s and girls’ empowerment.

These operations fully align with the African Union’s Agenda 2063, “The Africa We Want” and with the World Bank's regional integration strategy to step up regional integration to help accelerate Africa’s economic and social transformation. “The World Bank’s Evolution Roadmap clearly emphasizes the interlinkages between global and country development outcomes, and cross-border challenges,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank’s Vice President for Western and Central Africa. “Regional economic integration is an important driver for building productive capacities and achieving structural transformation for sustained development, and we will continue to support to the AUC, the regional economic communities, and African countries to achieve that.


For the AUC:
Janet Faith Adhiambo Ochieng
For the World Bank:
Gelila Woodeneh


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