As of April 2020, the World Bank approved $11.5 billion in lending to the Africa region for 87 operations in fiscal year 2020, including $1.4 billion in International Bank of Reconstruction and Development loans and $10.1 billion in International Development Association commitments. The Bank has an active portfolio in Africa of 671 projects totaling $84.1 billion. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $280 million has been dedicated to COVID-19 emergency operations, with more operations under preparation totaling $2.10 billion.
Key focus areas of long-term engagement include boosting human capital and empowering women, accelerating Africa’s digital economy, promoting regional integration particularly in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes regions, increasing access to affordable renewable energy, building resilience to climate change, and mobilizing all sources of finance for development.
A few highlights of our development results include:
Stepping up to support regional integration in Africa
The current Regional Integration portfolio amounts to more than $11 billion, with more than 70 projects in implementation.
The Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement program (REDISSE) covers 16 countries and provides a total of $629 million in financing, strengthens health systems and intercountry collaboration to detect and respond to outbreaks of communicable diseases. The Bank has also provided $250 million to help Ethiopia, Zambia and the African Union implement the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project, which aims to counter the spread of infectious diseases and address regional and continental public health issues. Both projects have mobilized resources to help countries procure laboratory equipment and increase their capacities to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fostering women’s and youth’s economic empowerment
The Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project (SWEDD) works across the Sahel to improve the availability and affordability of reproductive health services, strengthen specialized training centers for rural-based midwives, improve nursing services, and pilot and share knowledge on adolescent girls’ initiatives. SWEDD will soon include nine countries with $675 million in Bank funding.
Investing in the early years to build resilient human capital
Of the 250 million children under the age of five in Africa, one-third are stunted and less than one-quarter are enrolled in preschool. Investments in childhood development are crucial to unlocking a country’s human capital and driving economic growth and social development because they provide children with advantages that can last for generations.
The World Bank's Africa envisions a region in which all children arrive at school well-nourished and ready to learn, acquire real learning in the classroom, and enter the job market as healthy, skilled, and productive adults. Thus, the current portfolio includes $22 billion in investments across 162 projects on human development, and nearly $14 billion in new investments are in the pipeline for 100 human development projects.
In Nigeria, for example, the World Bank supports a multi-phased approach to improve the utilization of immunization plus and malaria services in multiple states. The project, known as the "Improved Child Survival Program for Human Capital," for a total of $650 million, will support the country's goal of reducing under-five mortality in the next decade.
Adapting to climate change and building climate resilience
Since its launch in 2015, the Africa Climate Business Plan has delivered significant results in agriculture, integrated watershed management, ocean economies, climate resilience in coastal zones, and renewable energy. In Zambia, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe, ACBP support has led to the development of dedicated Climate-Smart Agriculture Investment Plans, which contribute to efforts to increase food security for the rural poor through crop diversification, solar-powered irrigation, boreholes, rehabilitated canals and mainstreaming climate knowledge via national development plans.
The Next Generation ACBP builds on the achievements, lessons, and challenges of the ACBP to propel a bold vision for transformation and climate action at scale, recognizing the urgency to not just secure Africa’s development in the short to medium term but, to cement these outcomes in the face of escalating climate impacts in the decades to come.
Accelerating the high-tech and digital economy
The World Bank is supporting Africa’s vision to achieve universal and affordable access to information and communications technology for every African individual, business, and government by 2030, with an interim goal to double broadband connectivity in each country by 2021.
In Malawi, the Digital Foundations Project complements government efforts on digital transformation by supporting improvements to the legal/regulatory framework and building institutional and human capacity; promoting affordable, high quality internet access for all; and building the government’s ability to deliver services to citizens and conduct business digitally.
Across the continent, in Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, and Togo, the Bank is preparing Digital Economy Country Diagnostics (DE4A) to assess the current state of the digital economy in each country, assess key levers that drive it, and consider ways in which the Bank can help them place digital technologies at the center of development plans.
Harnessing technological developments to improve access to clean and reliable energy
At only 37%, energy access in Africa trails other regions, placing an unsustainable drag on growth. The Bank is supporting operations in Africa to increase access through grid extension and expansion of transmission networks, innovative off-grid electrification solutions, expansions of renewable generation capacity, development of regional power pools, and improvement of service efficiency.
The Nachtigal Hydropower Project in Cameroon is crowding in private capital and reducing public debt as well as lowering the overall costs of service for electricity as the country starts meeting its energy demand through renewable sources. In addition, the Bank is supporting the development and adoption of new technologies such as solar storage solutions, smart meters, mobile utility payments, satellite mapping and imaging, high-voltage DC transmission, and solar home systems and mini-grids.
Supporting inclusive governance and transforming economies
Enabling efficient and inclusive delivery of services, such as judicial courts, waste management, and safety nets, and building institutions and systems that are resilient to economic, social, and environmental pressures are the foundations of the Bank’s work on governance and inclusion in Africa. By creating sound conditions for investment and establishing continuity of state services, business can thrive and citizens can access needed services, achieving greater stability. Technology has also affected how governments operate and interact with citizens, increasing transparency and more efficient service delivery. The region continues to work to connect every African individual, business, and government by 2030.
In March 2020, Somalia began receiving debt relief under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, which will help Somalia reduce its debt from $5.2 billion at the end of 2018 to $557 million once it reaches the HIPC Completion Point in about three years’ time. The Bank played a strong role in helping Somalia achieve this milestone, including $140 million in Pre-Arrears Clearance Grants in FY19 and $375 million in development policy financing to strengthen state capacity, financial management and transparency and promote inclusive private sector-led growth.
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2020