WASHINGTON, September 4, 2007 — The World Bank Group committed a record $5.8 billion in International Development Association (IDA) resources to Sub-Saharan Africa in the last fiscal year, $1 billion more than in the previous year.
In addition, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank Group’s private sector arm, provided $1.38 billion in financing for its own account and mobilised an additional $261 million in financing through syndications.
A significant factor in the Bank’s increased commitment is an expanding investment in infrastructure—particularly electricity generation—badly needed to sustain healthy growth in the higher-performing economies, and to raise productivity in slow-growth countries.
In the 2007 financial year, which ended on June 30, the Bank committed $2.4 billion of IDA funds to infrastructure projects, of which $660 million was lending for the energy and mining sectors and $870 million was transport sector lending.
Uganda, where power shortages have constrained social and economic development, will benefit from a package of $360 million in loans and guarantees to support up to 250 MW of additional generating capacity, and a more reliable and efficient power system.
Africa, the Bank’s lead development priority, is in its third year of economic growth at levels above five percent, despite persistent constraints throughout the region arising from inadequate infrastructure, low investment and limited skills. Higher economic growth is lowering poverty levels. However, although there is significant variation among countries, and many countries are showing measurable progress in expanding the reach of education and attacking malaria and HIV/AIDS, most African countries aren’t yet on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
“We are now seeing increases in African countries’ per capital income consistent with those of other developing countries, and African countries have made great strides in expanding access to health and education,” said Obiageli Ezekwesili, Vice President for Africa. “African leaders are well aware of the support that IDA provides and this is why they are strong supporters of a robust replenishment of IDA this year.”