As of September 2020, the World Bank approved $5.3 billion in lending to the Africa region for 40 operations in fiscal year 2021, in International Development Association commitments. The Bank has an active portfolio in Africa of 719 projects totaling $93 billion for all product lines. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $12 billion has been dedicated to COVID-19 emergency operations in health, social protection and economic stimulus. More operations are under preparation totaling $50 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 $14.1 billion, with more than 80 projects in implementation.
Swift detection, early testing and rapid response require cross-border collaboration and strong solidarity among neighboring countries and with the international community to combat the spread of infectious diseases. In the aftermath of the West Africa Ebola crisis, the World Bank leveraged more than $600 million to launch the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) Project to strengthen health systems and support effective disease surveillance 16 West and Central African countries. 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 Niger, for example, the World Bank supports 100-day Rapid Results Initiatives (RRI) that are bringing health personnel and community members together—sometimes for the first time—to develop and test ways to improve health care effectiveness. The project is working to reach 15 million people (60% women) and contributes to reducing maternal and infant mortality and increasing family planning to benefit child development, women’s empowerment, and poverty reduction. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the World Bank supports the introduction of free primary education, which has allowed an additional 2.5 million children to go to school and could lift 23 million Congolese out of poverty by 2050.
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 sets out a blueprint to help Sub-Saharan African economies achieve low carbon and climate-resilient outcomes. As the largest financier of climate action in Africa, the World Bank will use this new Climate Plan to build on a strong track record under the original plan in which the Bank supported 346 projects with more than $33 billion over the past six years.
In East Africa, the World Bank is helping affected communities and households cope with the worst locust plague in decades. In the Sahel, the Bank is supporting more than a million pastoralists to adapt to the impact of climate change and to secure their livelihood.
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, the Bank has led Digital Economy Country Diagnostics (DE4A) in over 20 countries (completed and FY20 in progress) to assess the current state of the digital economy, with 15 more countries requesting diagnostics in FY20. The Bank has 15 active and 29 pipeline investment operations in Africa that contribute to the operationalization of the DE4A initiative that include a broadband infrastructure component totaling over $5.5 billion investment.
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.
Across Africa, many World Bank-financed projects, such as the Azito Power Project in Cote d’Ivoire are crowding in private capital and reducing public debt as well as lowering the overall costs of service for electricity. 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. A solar energy project in Burundi will almost double the rate of electricity access in the country by expanding access to rural families, local enterprises, schools and health centers in some of the poorest areas of the country.
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.
Since March, the Bank has provided nearly $400 million in financing to help tackle the urgent crises facing Somalia while planning for long-term reforms and development goals.
Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020