Photo: Courtesy

By SME Digital Correspondent

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, last week announced a record Kshs5.7 trillion in financing for Sub-Saharan African countries over the next three fiscal years.

After making the announcement, President Kim then left on a trip to Rwanda and Tanzania to emphasize the Bank Group’s support for the entire region.

The bulk of the financing – Kshs4.5 trillion – will come from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries. The IDA financing for operations in Africa will be critical to addressing roadblocks that prevent the region from reaching its potential.

“This represents an unprecedented opportunity to change the development trajectory of the countries in the region,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “With this commitment, we will work with our clients to substantially expand programs in education, basic health services, clean water and sanitation, agriculture, business climate, infrastructure, and institutional reform.”

The financing for Sub-Saharan Africa also will include an estimated Kshs800 billion in private sector investments from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a private sector arm of the Bank Group, and Kshs400 billion in financing from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), its non-concessional public sector arm.

In December, development partners agreed to a record Kshs7.5 trillion for IDA, a dramatic increase based on an innovative move to blend donor contributions to IDA with World Bank Group internal resources, and with funds raised through capital markets.

To support countries’ development priorities, scaled-up investments will focus on tackling conflict, fragility, and violence; building resilience to crises including forced displacement, climate change, and pandemics; and reducing gender inequality. Efforts will also promote governance and institution building, as well as jobs and economic transformation.

“This financing will help African countries continue to grow, create opportunities for their citizens, and build resilience to shocks and crises,” Kim said.

This World Bank Group financing will support transformational projects during the FY18-20 period. IBRD priorities will include health, education, and infrastructure projects such as expanding water distribution and access to power. The priorities for the private sector investment will include infrastructure, financial markets, and agribusiness. IFC also will deepen its engagement in fragile and conflict-affected states and increase climate-related investments.

Expected IDA outcomes include essential health and nutrition services for up to 400 million people, access to improved water sources for up to 45 million, and 5 GW of additional generation capacity for renewable energy.

The scaled-up IDA financing will build on a portfolio of 448 ongoing projects in Africa totaling about Kshs5.1 trillion. Of this, a Kshs160 billion financing package is being developed to tackle the impending threat of famine in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions.

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