Rwanda will be one of the countries to benefit from new strategies by the World Bank to help African countries sail through the global financial crisis with their economic progress not severely affected.
This was revealed yesterday by the World Bank Vice President for Africa, Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili during a press video conference broadcast live from Addis Ababa across the continent.
Asked whether the financial crisis would not affect Rwanda especially regarding the amount of money the country receives under the budget support programme of the bank, Ezikwesili reassured the countries benefiting from the arrangement including Rwanda that the bank will do anything including using all the available resources to ensure that they stay within its budget.
She however said that the bank is taking a different approach following major shocks caused by the financial crisis to ensure that the available funds are used effectively and efficiently to meet the needs of the people.
Ezikwesili who is in Addis Ababa to attend the African Union Summit said that Africa has also suffered heavily from the global economic downturn which began early last year, with the continent’s commodity exports severely affected, causing revenue shortfalls and expenditure relapses in most African economies.
The financial sector was not of the continent was however not heavily affected. She also revealed that as a result, the World Bank has adopted new effective strategies to help African economies recover from the shock by reimbursing using quick response funds.
Among these will include policy support programmes in several sectors that are considered to be the backbone of the economies. She said that the key sectors include the Agriculture on which 90 percent of the continent’s population depend.
Another key sector is the energy sector considering how energy scarcity remains a major setback and infrastructure development.
The bank is also intending to sink more in developing Information Communication and Technology across the continent as one of the new strategies to quicken the development process.
Ezikwesili said that Rwanda among other things will continue receiving the support it has been receiving from the bank going to different projects and will also benefit from the Regional Power Pools, a project by the bank to develop massive energy generating infrastructure to serve particular regions of the country.
The country is part and parcel of the East African Railway system in the pipeline expected to solve transport problems in the region as well as the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and the optical fibre programme aimed at increasing internet accessibility in the region. All these projects are.
Ezikwesili however said that more work is on the part of African governments as they have to adopt proper means of planning and utilising the available resources efficiently especially public utility funds, calling for more commitment.
She said that the bank has prioritised the Regional Infrastructure Programme on the continent, directing an additional US $40bn to the already budgeted US $80bn for the programme.
Research done by the bank shows that the 6.4 percent GDP growth for Africa expected in 2009 will go down to 3.5 percent and could even be reduced further due to the financial crisis.