26 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Washington, D.C — The African Region is set to receive $57 billion from the World Bank Group to finance life-saving and life-changing projects over the next three fiscal years. The financing will benefit the most fragile countries in the region. These projects include health, access to water, education, agriculture, among other life-saving and life-changing operations.
The World Bank Group President Jim Young Kim announced financing for Africa Sub-Saharan countries, a record of $57 billion. The funding follows the G20 meeting of finance ministers held recently. The funding is expected to finance projects on life-saving and life-changing operations over the next fiscal years in the most fragile countries in Africa.
The bulk of the money will come from the International Development Association (IDA), which is the World Bank Group fund, which supports anti-poverty programs in the poorest developing countries through long-term projects at no interest loans.
According to the World Bank statement, the financing for Sub-Saharan Africa will also include an estimated $8 billion in private sector investments from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a private-sector arm of the World Bank Group, and $4 billion in financing from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a non-concessional public sector arm.
The funding is expected to run from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020, with 60 per cent to go directly to Sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than half of the countries eligible for IDA financing.
The World Bank Group President Kim said, “This represents an unprecedented opportunity to change the development trajectory of the countries in the region. With this commitment, we will work with our clients to substantially expand programmes in education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate, infrastructure, and institutional reform.”
The funding priorities
The funding will go directly in financing transformational projects during the FY18-20 period, which has been indicated by World Bank IDA as geared to support the long-term projects with provisions for helping people or nations in a crisis situation.
The funding will focus on improving health, education and infrastructural projects such as expanding water distribution and access to power. The priorities for the private sector investment will include infrastructure, financial markets, and agribusiness.
“This financing will help African countries continue to grow, create opportunities for their citizens, and build resilience to shocks and crises,” Kim said.
The expected funding outcomes include essential health and nutrition services for up to 400 million people, 45 million people will be expected to have access to improved clean water sources and electricity.
A total of 10 million teachers will benefit from training, which will help the upscale education of about 300-plus million children. In the health sector, the project is expected to help finance the immunization of between 130 and 180 million children.
The funding document highlighted that the IDA financing will build on a portfolio of 448 ongoing projects in Africa, costing about $50 billion.A $1.6 billion financing package is being developed to tackle the impending threat of famine in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and other African countries.
*Fred Obera – This is Africa (Hilversum)