World Bank in Africa
The World Bank Africa Regional Vice Presidency works selectively and focuses on results, flexibility, efficient delivery, and innovation while increasing the use of programmatic approaches and maximizing the performance of its portfolio. The Bank's assistance to Africa reached a record high in fiscal 2014 with the approval of $10.6 billion for 160 projects. Among the regional priorities are the following:
• Energy. Increasing access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a primary objective of the Bank's work in Africa's energy sector. Sub-Saharan Africa is blessed with large hydropower resources that can create electricity; yet only 10 percent of its potential has been mobilized. Hydropower projects—such as Rusumo Falls in Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania and the Jiji-Mulembwe in Burundi—will increase generation capacity, benefiting millions of Africans. The Banda gas-to-power project will produce and convert natural gas from offshore gas fields in Mauritania into 300 megawatts of new electricity. This first-of-its-kind combination of guarantees also mobilizes private investment in gas extraction and energy generation by facilitating power trade among Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal.
• Agriculture. The World Bank works to strengthen the resilience of agricultural production systems through landscape approaches, including irrigation, to improve the quality of agricultural policies and public spending and to facilitate inclusive private sector investments in agriculture that focus on land administration programs. Pastoralism and agribusiness are other important areas. In fiscal 2014, the Bank provided more than $1.4 billion in agricultural assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa, a 35 percent increase over the prior two years. Priority projects included support in Ethiopia for improving pastoralism through community development and livelihoods and subregional support for boosting agribusiness in Senegal
AFRICA REGION SNAPSHOT
and meeting food security and emergency needs in the Central African Repub lic and Madagascar.
• Social protection. Extending coverage of social protection systems to help households mitigate shocks and build human capital is critical, as reflected in the Bank's quickly expanding social protection portfolio, including investments in fragile and conflict-affected situations.
• Higher education, science, and technology.
Investing in skills and education is crucial to the region. It is particularly important to improve the quality of education and of science and technology training, to spend funds wisely, and to explore appropriate private sector links. The World Bank's new Africa Higher-Education Centers of Excellence Project is funding 19 university-based centers for advanced education in West and Central Africa. It will support regional specialization among participating universities in mathematics, science, engineering, and information and communication technology to address regional challenges. The Bank has long supported Africa's new partners-Brazil, China, the Republic of Korea, and India—in their development. In July 2013, it proposed that these same countries and Japan create a Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology to work toward closing skills gaps in Africa's workforce.