Sub Saharan Africa received a record-breaking $15.3 billion from the World Bank Group for development funding in the latest fiscal year, spanning from July 2013 to June 2014. These funds were aimed at supporting shared prosperity in the region and intensifying efforts to alleviate poverty.

“Africa is making significant progress and at the World Bank, we are stepping up the momentum to innovate and think big to help our clients achieve their development goals,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa.

He said the Group delivered about $10.6 billion in new lending for 160 projects during the year, including a new record of $10.2 billion in zero-interest credits and grants from the International Development Association, IDA, for the poorest countries.

During the year, the multilateral investment guarantee agency, MIGA, issued guarantees of $515 million in support of projects in the oil and gas, power, services, and telecommunications sectors.

The agency also teamed up with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to establish a $350-million political risk facility that will support planned investments in sustainable agribusiness in up to 13 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

The bank focused on regional projects in sustainable energy, irrigation, water management, and food security, and also on job training programs for youth, health issues, and social protection for poor families across the region.

In FY14, the bank stepped up its efforts to act quickly and effectively in emergency situations across Africa.

For instance, in response to the crisis in Central African Republic, the bank delivered emergency development funds of over US$70 million to help restore key government services and to support food distribution and health services.

Besides, the bank undertook major regional initiatives focused on the challenges of fragility and conflict.

In November 2013, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim pledged $1.5 billion to boost economic growth and lift the people of Africa’s Sahel Region out of devastating poverty.

Sub-Saharan Africa is blessed with large hydropower resources that can create electricity, yet only 10% of its potential has been harnessed. Boosting access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a primary objective of the bank’s work in Africa.

During fiscal 2014, projects focused on developing hydropower potential and providing new forms of sustainable power to increase energy production and benefit millions of Africans.

In a major push, World Bank agencies International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and MIGA combined forces under a joint Energy Business Plan for Nigeria.

The plan aims to support Nigeria’s energy reform program and help increase installed generation capacity by about 1,000 MW while mobilizing nearly $1.7 billion of private sector financing for Africa’s largest economy.

In fiscal 2014, the bank also supported the 80-megawatt Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project in Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania, and provided a $100-million grant to Burundi for the Jiji-Mulembwe hydropower project. Both initiatives will increase electricity generation capacity, benefitting millions of Africans.

The bank supports country-led efforts to improve agricultural productivity by linking farmers to markets and reducing risk and vulnerability; increase rural employment; and make agriculture more environmentally sustainable.

Projects during the latest fiscal included support for improving pastoralism through community development and livelihoods in Ethiopia, boosting agribusiness in Senegal, and pushing the envelope on landscape management, notably in the Sahel.

Higher education plays a key role in promoting economic growth and development especially for Africa’s fastest growing youth population. As one of the largest financiers of higher education in the region, the World Bank is mobilizing its knowledge and leadership behind countries to champion education.

The bank’s new $150-million Africa Higher-Education Centres of Excellence project funded 19 university-based centres for advanced education in West and Central Africa, in addition to support to regional specialization among participating universities in mathematics, science, engineering and ICT to address regional challenges.

Image (Ehabari): Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa, said the group delivered about $10.6 billion in new lending for 160 projects during the year.

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