Thirteen African Heads of State and governments concluded their one-day meeting in Abidjan on Thursday with a strong resolution to accelerate economic recovery from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, scale-up investments in human capital, and increase their job creation efforts. They called for a robust twentieth replenishment of the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA20) to support these efforts.
In a joint declaration endorsed at the meeting, the Heads of State emphasized that economic recovery, job creation, and investments in human capital – including expanding access to vaccines – are critical to help people recover from the shocks of the pandemic, get out of extreme poverty, and build a more resilient and inclusive future.
“The funding process that begins in Abidjan this week, will conclude at the end of this year with a policy and financial package to support specific projects in the 74 IDA countries over the next three years. The goal to mobilize an IDA20 replenishment envelope of at least $100 billion, for three years, would be the largest amount raised in IDA’s history. This is a good opportunity to demonstrate that solidarity is effectively essential for the good of all and that we can act together to return to the path of income convergence that we were on prior to the pandemic and build a safer and prosperous world,” said President Alassane Ouattara of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. “We know that when the World Bank has the backing of all its stakeholders, it has the capacity and oversight to make a difference.”
On jobs, the leaders committed to job creation efforts by developing the private sector, with emphasis on improving productivity through broad based digitalisation, mechanisation, African manufacturing – including vaccines, and improved access to finance and better business environment.
On human capital, the leaders called for education systems that support the acquisition and use of skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, and resilient health systems, adaptive safety nets and service delivery systems. On economic recovery, the Heads of State expressed their determination to support structural and spatial transformation of economies, through better economic diversification and regional development within countries and regions, coupled with macroeconomic stability with special attention to public debt sustainability, security and peacekeeping issues, as well as better preparedness to protect economies and populations from various crises.
Acknowledging the high financing volumes needed to match the level of ambition of their development agenda, the leaders highlighted the importance of maximising both domestic and external financing resources. They observed that with the continent’s additional financing needs estimated at $285 billion over the next five years, to fight the pandemic, climate change, and accelerate economic recovery, their enhanced domestic resource mobilization efforts would fall short. They therefore called for an earlier IDA20 replenishment of at least $100 billion by the end of 2021 to meet with aspirations for the continent.
“Today we heard from the Heads of State how this pandemic has affected their countries and their need for stable future financing to meet their development ambitions. IDA is a big part of financing and recovery solutions for all these countries,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director for Operations. “An ambitious IDA20 will be a powerful force helping countries with a green and inclusive recovery to get back to the 2030 goals.”
The meeting was attended by leaders of Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda, as well as Heads of regional commissions including the West African Economic and Monetary Union, Economic Commission for West Africa, Central African Economic and Monetary Community, and the African Union. The meeting was also attended by World Bank Group leadership and representatives of IDA donor governments.