WB commits $50b to spur growth in poorest nations

The World Bank through its fund for the poorest countries, International Development Association (IDA), has agreed to disburse $49.3 billion to combat poverty and spur growth in the poorest nations.

The World Bank through its fund for the poorest countries, International Development Association (IDA), has agreed to disburse $49.3 billion to combat poverty and spur growth in the poorest nations.

The funds will support some 79 countries over the next three years, focusing on financing infrastructure, improving health services, educating children, and  combating climate change, the Bank said in a press stamen yesterday.

According to the Bank, the funding for the sixteenth IDA replenishment (IDA16) is up 18 percent on the previous round three years ago. A total of 51 donors pledged to IDA16, which covers the period from July 2011 to June 2014.

It follows pledges not only from traditional donors but also funding from within the World Bank Group and from current and former IDA borrowers, the Bank said.

“The funding pledges show support from an extraordinary global coalition of donors and borrowers which have come together to ensure that even in these difficult economic times we offer hope and opportunity to the world’s poor,” World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick said in the statement.

“This strong level of support is a testimony to IDA’s relentless focus on results that bring improvements on the ground for poor people.”

The statement said that the new compact is manifested in strong pledges from both traditional and new donors, contributions through pre-payments from countries that used to borrow interest-free loans from IDA and contributions from World Bank and IFC net income.

“With this robust IDA replenishment, we will have the ability to help immunize 200 million more children, extend health services to over 30 million people, give access to improved water sources to 80 million more people, help build 80,000 kilometers of roads and train and recruit over two million teachers,” Zoellick said.

According to the Bank, the agreement marks the last opportunity for donors and poor countries to effectively use IDA funds to make more progress on reaching the Millennium Development Goals, which includes the internationally agreed target to halve poverty by 2015.

“This strong response by donors also signals that development funding should not be viewed just as aid, but rather as an investment in the future, as we need developing country growth to ignite global growth,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Bank Managing Director and Chairperson of the IDA16 negotiations.

“IDA can help ensure that development dollars benefit both the developing and developed worlds.”

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