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Speeches & TranscriptsJuly 7, 2022

Keynote Speech by Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director, Operations at the IDA for Africa: Heads of State Summit

(As prepared for delivery)

Your Excellency President Macky Sall;

Your Excellencies Heads of State;

Your Excellencies, Prime Ministers and Ministers;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is an honor for me to be here with you today. On behalf of the World Bank, I wish to convey my deep appreciation to His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chairman of the African Union, for his kind invitation and generous hospitality in hosting today’s IDA for Africa Summit.

I have been given the floor for some time this morning. But to be frank with you, I want to convey just one simple message, and that is this:

Our point of departure is your ambitions.

Your ambitions for a growing economy. For more and better jobs. For digital development. For further integration into global value chains.

For children in school, learning the skills they need for tomorrow.

For a fighting chance for people to escape poverty and become prosperous.

This is where IDA meets you, at these ambitions.

We are invested in your success.

The World Bank is a long-term partner and will stay a long-term partner – and that means in good times, and when times are more challenging and difficult.

The World Bank exists in order to work with you hand-in-hand toward the best achievable results for the long-term prosperity of your countries.

Which is why we seek an even stronger engagement with you going forward, to give you the priority, partnership, and investment that you deserve.

Reflecting on Abidjan

You may recall that we met together one year ago in Abidjan.

At that time, you told us your upmost priorities and pressing concerns, and you articulated these in the 2021 Abidjan Declaration. Doing so was hugely beneficial to the IDA20 replenishment negotiations.

I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my respect and appreciation for this effort – and in particular to express my gratitude to His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, for convening the inaugural IDA for Africa Summit.

The Abidjan Declaration was important because it put a uniquely African, high-level, political stamp on these important negotiations for the world’s largest and most effective fund for development.

The Declaration sent a strong message that the ambitions and financing needs of African people are high, and worthy of support.

The Declaration was very helpful to negotiate the IDA policy package.

With some ideas that ultimately were reflected including:

Jobs, jobs, jobs.  An incredible challenge. Every year millions of Africans are entering the labor market and not always jobs available.

Emphasis on regional integration – including trade, which could be a motor for growth and needs to be supported.

I thank you for that strong participation because that policy package became stronger.

The final IDA20 replenishment will provide $93 billion over the next three years to support 74 countries around the world, of which 39 are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The replenishment was made possible by $23.5 billion in donor contributions from 52 countries around the world. These resources are combined with World Bank resources so that each $1 donated delivers almost $4 in IDA programming.

I would like to thank our IDA donors – many of whom join us today virtually at this Summit.

They heard your call, and they came together in extraordinary global solidarity, and despite significant fiscal pressures in their own countries, to support developing countries around the world.

Your Excellencies, I am pleased to assure you that the voice and ambitions of Africa are embedded within this IDA20 replenishment package

I would also like to thank the IDA Borrower Representatives. Of the 14 Borrower Representatives to the IDA20 Replenishment process, around half are from Africa. Their advocacy, join statements, and intellectual contributions were critical to shaping the IDA20 agenda.

In particular, key issues like the jobs agenda, fragility, and regional integration were prioritized in this package as a direct result of their advocacy.

And now to convert these ideas to reality.

As of last Friday, the 1st of July, IDA20 moved into implementation mode. So, this is a good moment to come back to you.

This forum is intended to garner high-level support from the leaders present today for an ambitious implementation agenda.

We are ready to translate this package into concrete initiatives with you. In digital. In energy. In agriculture. In health and education.

IDA for Africa

Let us look at the dimensions of IDA and what this means for Africa.

 Over the past 20 years, IDA has been growing in size – as has Africa’s share of it.

IDA’s financing to Sub-Saharan Africa has grown from around $2 billion in 2000, to $10 billion in 2010. To $28 billion this year. [including IBRD, over $34 billion.]

And our support is here to stay. IDA provides long-term predictable concessional financing to deliver on long-term goals.

Today, around two-thirds of total IDA goes to Africa – about $65 billion.

This makes IDA unique in its size and scale. It affords all of us here today the opportunity to “think big” about the significant transformations that together we want to achieve in Africa.

That said, IDA is not only about money. It is about partnership for success.

It is about bringing the best examples from around the world to help identify best-fit solutions. It is about data, dialogue, and steadfast support to implementation.

It is about presence – we have around 1,800 staff on the ground in Sub-Saharan Africa, including a growing number of directors and managers, to work with you day in and day out.

This helps us not only learn about your culture, your history – but also better understand your needs.

This is going to be the key to helping African countries be more successful – as we are all faced with multiple crises, including the latest one from the fallout from the war in Ukraine. This is affecting African countries badly in terms of higher fuel prices, higher commodity prices – and as an unfortunate consequence – higher inflation. And inflation, we all know, is the worst enemy of the poor.

We work with you the Governments, as well as the private sector, civil society, development partners, and international organizations – and whoever is serious about solving problems.

Together, we can make a huge leap forward.

A lot is happening in the region – and we have a strong IDA portfolio and pipeline to support it.

Energy Access

On energy access, this is an issue that Africa’s leaders have prioritized.

In the last 20 years, the developing countries of Asia moved from having two-thirds of people with access to electricity, to now almost universal access.

Africa can achieve a revolution of this magnitude.

We can build on regional integration efforts, such as the West Africa Power Pool, to extend the benefits of clean and affordable energy across the continent.

Let us look at how we can support and increase that ambition, in the energy area – including renewables. We can leverage new technologies, improve regulatory frameworks, strengthen utilities, and crowd in the private sector.

Let us join forces and together forge the path toward universal energy access. For our part, we are ready.

Digital Development

On digital, I cannot agree more than with President Kagame of Rwanda who, in 2019 while Chairman of the African Union, called for all people to be digitally connected by 2030.

Under the [World Bank’s] Digital Economy for Africa Initiative, we committed to double broadband penetration over five years from 2016 to 2021 – in fact we tripled it.

Let us build on that. 

This is doable because we have the right mix of instruments, from reforming public regulations and investments in infrastructure, to de-risking private sector investments.

We want to make best use of the IDA resources here for the public sector, while leveraging private sector investment in these areas.

Food Security

Another area that is a sobering one is Food Security. Food insecurity is increasing and affecting millions around the world, including in Africa.

The World Bank said we cannot wait and announced in April that we will provide worldwide new resources to the tune of $12 billion – with an additional $18 billion of resources to be made available from existing operations – so up to $30 billion for food security.

In the first three months since April, we have committed almost $6 billion across the world of which 3.9 billion was to Africa.

We are also deploying two large regional Food System Resilience Programs in Africa that together will reach 20 million beneficiaries.

In this support, we are pursuing a dual track approach – responding to the crisis while addressing the longer-term issues, which means working towards long-term reduction of food insecurity and that means better resilience, better agricultural systems.

A few weeks ago, when we discussed the East Africa food system project with our Board, I said, here we are sitting together almost 50 years after the 1974 conference focused on eradicating hunger – and we still have this [situation]. We have to do better and the only way to do it is to see how we can learn from this problem and once and for all help solve it – and you will be able to count on the World Bank support for this!

Social protection

With food security, we also need also to think of social protection systems. The good news here is that we have learned a lot over the years that we need to have much better social security systems.

One of the many lessons from COVID-19 was how important it is to have strong targeting and delivery systems, to help the most vulnerable to build resilience to shocks – whether they be from pandemics, conflict, or climate. Let me note here that the issue of Crisis Preparedness is now paramount.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank has reached more than 1 billion beneficiaries around the world through these programs. And there is scope to do more in Africa.

In IDA20, let us further strengthen social protection systems in Africa to cushion the shocks and help people to build resilience.

We can together apply lessons from the Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend program and others like it. We can scale up and achieve much greater impact.

We tend to get so focused on crisis measures, that sometimes we talk less about the Sustainable Development Goals and poverty reduction. I think we need to continue to force ourselves to be effective crisis managers, but never lose sight of the longer-term challenges. And here- human capital investment is absolutely essential.

[Maximizing IDA20]

Your Excellencies, given your esteemed positions, people ask much of you. But I dare to be bold today and make one further request of you: I want you to squeeze the maximum out of IDA20.

IDA has incentives – these are transparent and designed to support your success.

For the next 3 years, we estimate that around $44 billion will go to country allocations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As you probably know, each country receives an allocation based on a formula.

The best way to increase your country allocation – and to sustain that increase over time – is by undertaking reforms that strengthen your government’s core policies and institutions.

When you do so, your score increases in the formula each year, and your country allocation grows.

So, I challenge each of you to review your latest scores, and together let us identify actions to improve them.

Maximizing IDA20 windows

In addition, there are IDA Windows that you can tap to access additional resources beyond your country allocation.

These are ‘use it or lose it’. I want you to use them – not to lose them.


Through the Scale-Up Window, we can scale up high-impact investments that can demonstrate transformational impact.

Through the Regional Window, we can invest in solutions for shared challenges to deliver positive regional spillovers.

Through the Refugee Window, we can support development programs for refugees and the communities that host them.

Through the Crisis Response Window, we can respond to severe crises, and respond earlier to slow-onset crises.

And through the Private Sector Window, we can mobilize private sector investments in your countries by de-risking IFC investments and MIGA guarantees.

We would like also to point to the Fragility, Conflict and Violence envelope, which provides additional allocations for IDA countries that have strong plans for transitioning out of fragility, and conflict prevention. 

Now that IDA20 has started, let’s move.

This is hard work. It requires focus, discipline, stamina, and political will. But with good cooperation, we can achieve transformational results.

Connecting with the VPs

To drive this forward, I have two Vice Presidents here with me today.

Ousmane Diagana, Vice President for Western and Central Africa. Many of you know Ousmane well for his depth of experience and commitment to the African continent and its people.

And Victoria Kwakwa is our incoming Vice President for Southern and Eastern Africa. Victoria brings a wealth of experience most recently as VP for East Asia, where she supported countries to pursue big transformations, leapfrogging technology, increasing productivity, strengthening human capital, and stimulating private sector growth. To apply these lessons and pursue transformations in your own countries, you can count on Victoria.

These two colleagues are ready to work with you – today and through all the days.

In closing, let me reiterate. Our point of departure is your ambitions.

I hope that in the next years, we can sit together and see what results have been achieved with IDA – and how together you’ve made a difference. And you can count on the World Bank for full support!


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