African countries economy
The WBG strategy for Africa builds on opportunities for growth and poverty reduction to support structural transformation, economic diversification and inclusion within the new development finance framework. The region is made up of a combination of low-income, lower-middle income, upper-middle income, and high income countries. 18 countries are Fragile and Conflict-affected States. Africa also has 13 small states.
The Bank is responding to this diversity by providing a wide range of instruments – both traditional and innovative - tailored to the needs of the countries.
The strategy focuses on the following priority areas:
Agricultural productivity. There is a continuing need to accelerate progress in boosting agricultural productivity and output in Africa. Supporting smallholders through investment in improved technologies, rural financial services, and better access to markets is vital. Equally important is the push to boost agribusiness investments and improve land and water management by adopting modern irrigation practices, preventing conflicts over water resources and implementing climate-smart agriculture solutions.
Affordable and reliable energy. Increasing access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a primary objective of the Bank’s work in Africa as inadequate electricity supply remains the greatest infrastructure obstacle in Africa.
Africa’s poor are likely to be hit hardest by climate change, particularly changes in temperature and rainfall patterns. Investing in climate change adaptation techniques and disaster risk management will remain top priority. To build climate resilience, countries will need help to both mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and ensure food security. The Africa Climate Business Plan, presented at COP21, lays out a work program to help on both fronts.
Regional integration in Africa remains a critical piece of our strategy to improve connectivity, leverage economies of scale, and enhance productivity.
Urbanization. Integrated urban planning, addressing water, sanitation, transport, housing, power and governance, will be vital to making urbanization a true driver of productivity and income growth, and are at the core of our work in Africa.
High quality human capital. Each year in Africa and for the next decade, 11 million youth will enter the job market. Young Africans must be equipped with the right skills and training. There is still a mismatch between what African students are learning and the skills employers are actually seeking. To help bridge this gap, the Bank has launched initiatives to boost STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) across the region.
Knowledge is essential to our effort to improve development outcomes and make aid more effective. Country Economic Updates, produced in consultation with clients and other stakeholders, help promote substantive discussions around key policy issues. Analytical work on structural transformation, on macroeconomic vulnerabilities, on fragility and poverty, on improving governance, but also on more specific areas such as the management of drylands, addressing the challenges of the Sahel, improving development outcomes in the Horn of Africa, and tapping the opportunities in land reform, urbanization, and demography are also underway.