As of January 2019, the Bank had an active portfolio in Africa of 618 projects totaling $73 billion. Key focus areas 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:
Fostering women’s and youth’s economic empowerment
Africa cannot afford to lose out on the earnings potential of half its population, and capturing the demographic dividend is particularly crucial for the continent’s long-term economic growth.
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.
The Great Lakes Emergency Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Women’s Health Project has benefitted more than half a million women, including more than 21,000 poor and vulnerable women benefitted from economic empowerment activities and 18,000 youth benefitted from reproductive health services.
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 key to unlocking a country’s human capital and driving economic growth and social development because they provide children with advantages that last a lifetime.
The World Bank’s current portfolio includes $20 billion in investments across 156 projects on human development, and almost $6 billion in new investments are in the pipeline for 61 human development projects.
In Rwanda, the Bank supports a multifaceted approach to address chronic malnutrition through health and nutrition interventions, high-quality child feeding and hygiene practices, enhanced access to food through cash transfers, and support for improvements in household food security and dietary diversity through biofortification, labor saving technologies, and promotion of micro-nutrient enriched foods.
Adapting to climate change and building climate resilience
Africa is the lowest carbon emitter, and yet, it is more vulnerable to climate change than other regions. The World Bank’s Africa Climate Business Plan (ACBP) is a galvanizing platform for climate action and supports African governments in their urgent responses to climate change.
The ACBP has financed 176 projects, and $17 billion in Bank financing for climate-resilient development throughout Sub-Saharan Africa has been delivered, which is twice the Bank’s resource mobilization target set out for 2020.
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.
Accelerating the High-Tech and Digital Economy
The World Bank is supporting Africa’s vision to achieve universal and affordable access to ICTs 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.
Deepening regional integration
Regional projects create synergies, reduce costs, and make the provision of public services more efficient through economies of scale. For example, more than 40 million people are meeting their basic energy needs through products provided with the support of the joint World Bank-IFC Lighting Africa Program. This innovative effort was created for low income families, with the aim of providing off-grid solar lighting to 250 million people in the next decade. 1,792,090 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions were avoided in Africa in the past year.
Last Updated: Oct 15, 2019