African Heads of State Reaffirm Commitment to Recovering from Crises and Achieving Economic Transformation

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African Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their commitment to seize key opportunities to respond to multiple crises and steer their economies to transformative paths, in partnership with the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).

The leaders convened at the IDA for Africa Summit in Dakar, Senegal, to champion a strong start to IDA’s twentieth financing cycle (IDA20). They noted that the continent is experiencing reversals of development gains triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and compounded by climate change, food insecurity, conflict in the region, and the war in Ukraine.

The Heads of State, therefore, welcomed the IDA20 financing package of US$93 billion to help all countries supported by IDA recover on a greener, more resilient, and inclusive path.

“We are convening this Summit in a context of deep crisis, marked by the double impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. While we have exponentially increased our spending to respond to the health crisis and foster the economic and social resilience of our people, our fiscal space has shrunk dramatically, and debt vulnerabilities were exacerbated,” said President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal who hosted the event.

“Faced with these challenges and priorities, optimizing the use of IDA resources is key. I would like to reiterate our appreciation for the constant support of the World Bank Group in our efforts to mobilize all available means to provide our populations with better living conditions.”

The Dakar summit was attended by leaders from Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Equatorial, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, the Union of Comoros, and Zimbabwe.

They were joined by World Bank Group leadership, heads of regional and UN institutions, and representatives of IDA donor governments.

This convening comes a year after the 2021 Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where African leaders advocated for the ambitious replenishment of IDA20 to support their recovery agenda.

“The World Bank cares deeply about Africa. We are focused on its success in achieving its development goals and building a better future for all people,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director for Operations. “We are therefore investing about two-thirds of IDA20 financing in Africa, to help the continent make a huge leap forward in creating jobs, and improving access to services such as education, health care, electricity, and others.”

To fulfil the agenda to transform their economies, the leaders endorsed a call to action which they said will require strong leadership and political commitment. In this context, they called for the optimal use of IDA20 resources to achieve development goals, including by strengthening coordination mechanisms at the continental level. Following are the key undertakings they committed to in partnership with IDA:

• Accelerate economic transformation to better respond to future shocks. This will require action on creating a conducive environment such as good governance, security and peace, crisis preparedness, and removal of bottlenecks to cross-border investments in economic infrastructure.

• Invest in people. Protect, improve, and increase investment in people. This will include more spending on education and skills development, building pandemic-ready health systems, expanding safety nets, and strengthening national data collection systems for measuring human capital progress.

• Speed up the energy transition. Take actions to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030. These actions will include mobilizing public and private investment, strengthening regional markets for energy trade, and promoting investments in low-carbon energy.

• Accelerate digitalization. Scale-up efforts and strive for universal access to broadband connectivity by 2030 by investing in infrastructure and policy and regulatory reforms. They reaffirmed that cross-cutting projects on the digital economy to be financed by IDA20 must foster strong private sector involvement.

• Strengthen response mechanisms to address food security. Actions will include tackling challenges such as fragility, climate change, environmental degradation, revitalizing ecosystems, and improving agricultural productivity and value chains. The goal is for Africa to produce, sell, and export affordable, climate-resilient food, and depend less on food imports.

• Step-up implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Place a strong emphasis on intra-African trade, eliminating bottlenecks and fostering cross-border investment in transport and energy infrastructure.

The IDA20 financing cycle runs from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2025, with a focus on Building Back Better from the Crisis: Towards a Green, Resilient and Inclusive Future. This overarching theme is supported by five special themes and four cross-cutting issues. The special themes are Human Capital; Climate Change; Gender and Development; Fragility, Conflict, and Violence; and Jobs and Economic Transformation. The four cross-cutting issues are Crisis Preparedness; Governance and Institutions; Debt; and Technology.

(FrontPage Africa)

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