World Bank approves $57 billion for Nigeria, other Sub-Sahara African countries

The World Bank
The World Bank

The World Bank Group has announced the approval of $57 billion for Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries for the next three years.

A statement posted on the bank’s website on Monday said the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, made the announcement before leaving for a trip to Rwanda and Tanzania. Mr. Kim will be visiting the two countries to emphasise the bank’s support for the entire region.

The announcement, which followed a meeting with G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, said the fund would be used to scale up investments and de-risk private sector participation for accelerated growth and development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The bulk of the financing, $45 billion, will come from the International Development Association, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.

The financing for Sub-Saharan Africa, the statement said, will also include an estimated $8 billion in private sector investments from the International Finance Corporation, a private sector arm of the group, and $4 billion in financing from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, its non-concessional public sector arm.

The statement noted that in December 2016, development partners agreed
to a record $75 billion for the IDA, a dramatic increase based on an innovative move to blend donor contributions to the IDA with World Bank Group’s internal resources, and with funds raised through capital markets.

Sixty per cent of the IDA financing is expected to go to sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than half of the countries eligible for the financing.

This funding is available for the period known as IDA18, which runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020.

“This represents an unprecedented opportunity to change the development trajectory of the countries in the region,” Mr. Kim said.

“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.

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

The bank disclosed that the IDA financing for operations in Africa
will be critical to addressing roadblocks that prevent the region from
reaching its potential.

It also maintained that it would be deployed to support countries’ development priorities, scale-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.

Meanwhile, earlier in March, the World Bank Group had made known its intention to mobilise immediate response for people threatened by famine in Nigeria and five other countries.

The development came after the Nigerian government had denied that there was any prospect of famine across the country, but later indicated the Boko Haram-raved north-eastern Nigeria could be affected.

The five other countries, the World Bank had noted, were Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.

The bank was reacting to a report by the Famine Early Warning System Network, FEWS NET, an agency supported by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, which said that due to persistent conflict, severe drought and economic instability, Nigeria and three other countries faced a credible risk of famine in 2017.

In its statement Monday, Mr. Kim noted that a part of the new financing would be deployed to tackle impending threat of famine in the affected countries of the Sub-saharan African region.

“The scaled-up IDA financing will build on a portfolio of 448 ongoing projects in Africa totaling about $50 billion,” the statement said.

“Of this, a $1.6 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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