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An African Success Story for Development Finance

This week, donors and borrowers will convene in Zanzibar, Tanzania, to review the current funding cycle of the World Bank’s International Development Association. The meeting will show how IDA has become a major source of assistance for African countries, while also illustrating the need to increase contributions.

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, representatives of donor and borrower countries have been meeting in Zanzibar, Tanzania, to review the current funding cycle of the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional lending arm. They are taking stock of the IDA’s ongoing programs and the needs of the world’s poorest people. But the choice of venue is significant, because it enables participants to witness the extraordinary impact of IDA funding, while reflecting Africa’s central role in development, now and in the future.

By 2050, one in four people on the planet will be African, and the continent will have the world’s largest and youngest workforce, as well as vast consumer markets. Currently, however, African countries – many of which are fragile and conflict-ridden – are among the world’s poorest. Around 462 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) live in extreme poverty, while many governments are grappling with catastrophic weather, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, and high levels of debt and unemployment.

To realize Africa’s tremendous potential, governments must focus on increasing employment opportunities. Currently, only one in six workers in SSA has a salaried job, compared to one in two in high-income countries. In the absence of a stable income, many Africans cannot thrive or plan for the future. Creating new and better jobs for young people would drive inclusive growth and turn the continent’s demographic wealth into an economic dividend.