In the midst of the pandemic, the goal of the International Development Association (IDA), one of the institutions that make up the World Bank, is twofold. We are doubling our emergency aid to Africa in response to the crisis, helping to strengthen health systems as well as funding the purchase and deployment of vaccines. At the same time, we are giving more support to these countries as they plan for a strong, green and inclusive recovery.
Over a year ago, when it became clear that the pandemic would have a huge impact on the world’s most vulnerable people, we acted quickly and supplied to the poorest countries in the world with a very large share of aid provided by IDA over a three-year cycle. Thirty-nine of the 74 beneficiary countries are in Africa.
We will meet with donors to discuss IDA’s triennial replenishment a year ahead of schedule.
Between April 2020 and June 2021, we provided unprecedented $ 41 billion in aid to the African continent. Most of that went to tackle the challenges posed by Covid-19, in particular saving lives, protecting the poor, creating jobs and building back better in the aftermath of the crisis. Billions of dollars have been allocated to health-related spending.
Vaccines for 400 million Africans
We also recently partnered with the African Union Vaccine Acquisition Task Force to finance the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines for as many as 400 million Africans. The process has evolved very quickly, as the first doses of vaccine are expected to be delivered within the next few weeks.
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IDA is the main source of finance for low-income African countries. It provides either long-term interest-free loans or grants, the latter of which exceeded $ 10 billion last year. IDA support helps countries cope with the effects of the crisis and address current challenges related to long-term development, fragility and climate change.
This level of financial support is not temporary. This is a structural change in the World Bank‘s partnership with Africa, as the Bank’s level of engagement has increased from 15% of its annual lending program 20 years ago to 45% today. ‘hui. Over the past five years, the World Bank has committed $ 106 billion to Africa and increased its workforce in African countries by more than 40%.
The World Bank‘s interventions are intended to be global and inclusive, because the institution is determined to leave no country behind. In Sudan, for example, we recently helped the authorities end decades of financial isolation and reconnect with the international community. This has enabled us to launch a major poverty reduction program in the country as well as a debt relief project that will ultimately reduce Sudan’s debt by over 90%.
More broadly, we are find ways to continue working in countries affected by fragility and conflict, in close coordination with our United Nations partners on the ground. Instead of withdrawing, we have decided to continue to provide vital support to these countries; that figure has grown by 50% over the past year to almost $ 15 billion.
Although IDA is heavily involved in helping countries cope with the pandemic and other crises – such as locust infestations, drought and armed conflict – its ultimate goal is to promote sustainable economic and social development.
As the needs of these countries constantly evolve, the World Bank hopes that African leaders will soon begin to provide ideas and advice on how it can best support the continent’s long-term ambitions.
We will meet with donors to discuss IDA’s triennial replenishment a year ahead of schedule. The ideas of African partners have a significant impact on the strategic direction of the next round, as more emphasis will be placed on several critical areas: job creation, stimulation of private sector development, reduction of the digital divide. , widening access to energy and strengthening regional integration.
The Abidjan summit was an opportunity to discuss the drivers of Africa’s recovery and longer-term development prospects. It set the direction for the IDA negotiations, as we anticipate that about two-thirds of the resources raised from the IDA the next round of IDA refinancing will be allocated to Africa.
In addition, the discussions motivated us to raise more funds, as the needs are very great and the consequences of inaction could seriously damage the long-term prospects of the continent. The challenge is to act now, to help Africa rebuild better and improve the lives of its peoples.