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Kenya and the World Bank host IDA Summit to Accelerate Africa’s Economic Development

On April 29th, a significant meeting took place in Nairobi, Kenya, where 19 African leaders and 32 finance ministers gathered to discuss ambitious economic reforms aimed at accelerating the development of the continent. This summit, co-hosted by the government of Kenya and the World Bank, is of utmost importance as Africa stands on the brink of a major leap forward in its progress.

Despite being severely affected by the recent polycrisis, Africa is showing resilience and bouncing back. In the near future, it will boast the largest workforce in the world. By 2050, one out of every four individuals will be African, and the continent will be home to a third of the global youth population. With its youthful demographic, rapidly growing cities, abundant natural resources, and a thriving entrepreneurial spirit, Africa is poised to realize its full potential.

However, achieving this potential requires substantial investment, and there is no better partner for Africa than the International Development Association (IDA), the world’s largest solidarity fund for the poor. For decades, IDA has been a dedicated supporter of Africa’s development, driving progress through grants and highly concessional loans. It has played a crucial role in strategic investments, such as building a skilled and healthy workforce and fostering job creation in various industries. Out of the 75 countries that IDA supports, 39 are in Africa, with over 70 percent of its resources directed towards the continent.

Recognizing the pivotal role of IDA in Africa’s transformation, the summit witnessed the formation of a formidable coalition comprising leaders, global youth, the private sector, and civil society. This coalition is advocating for increased donor funding ahead of IDA’s next replenishment, known as IDA21. Their shared commitment is to achieve a robust, inclusive, and sustainable recovery in partnership with IDA. Dr. William Ruto, the President of Kenya, expressed the impatience for change and the desire to seize the tremendous opportunities that lie before the continent.

IDA has a proven track record of delivering tangible results and making a real impact. In the previous IDA20 cycle, every dollar of donor contributions resulted in $3.50 of impact. This support has led to significant achievements, such as providing essential health services to 1.18 billion people worldwide, improving water access for 117 million people, and delivering new or improved electricity services to 92 million people.

Now, with IDA21, the focus is on further improving lives, with a particular emphasis on women and youth. The goals include increasing prosperity, addressing climate change and biodiversity preservation, building resilient societies, promoting digitalization, creating job opportunities, and developing the necessary infrastructure for sustainable economic growth. These priorities are especially relevant in Africa, where approximately 462 million people still live in extreme poverty.

During the summit, leaders from various sectors came together to support ambitious transformation in Africa, with a specific focus on empowering the continent’s young population. Sellah Bogonko, CEO of Jacob’s Ladder and representative of African youth, emphasized the importance of collective action and collaboration between elected leaders and young people. They are not simply asking for assistance but are ready to co-create solutions with the support of IDA.

Ndidi Nwuneli, President of the ONE Campaign, stressed the need for IDA21 to be transformative, robust, and delivered with transparency and accountability. It is crucial to ensure that the interests and well-being of Africa’s citizens are at the forefront, ultimately leading to stable and resilient economies for the continent.

After the summit, the leaders released a statement expressing their unwavering dedication to enhancing governance, unlocking the potential of the private sector, generating employment opportunities, mobilizing domestic resources, achieving climate change objectives, prioritizing increased access to energy and digital services, and strengthening resilience to climate change and conflict.

Ajay Banga, the President of the World Bank, reiterated the Bank’s support for the development of the continent and urged the global donor community to make stronger commitments. He emphasized the shared vision for Africa’s future, highlighting its diversity, culture, and potential, which are fueled by its young population and abundant natural resources. This vision serves as the driving force for progress. Banga acknowledged the consistent partnership of the International Development Association (IDA) in Africa’s development journey and emphasized that the summit signifies the collective determination to accelerate progress. Achieving this goal will require increased efforts from IDA, the World Bank Group, governments, and the private sector.

Africa’s potential is within reach, and with the support of IDA and the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders, the continent can embark on a transformative journey towards a brighter future.

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