By Etuka Sunday
The World Bank Group has announced a major new financial pledge of $1.8 billion that would boost economic growth and opportunity, reduce poverty, and spur business activities in Africa.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the World Bank Group (WBG) President, Jim Yong Kim, as well as the President of the Islamic Development Bank Group and high level representatives of the African Union Commission, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) are combining forces to promote stability and development in the Horn of Africa. The new initiative, according to World Bank would cover eight countries in the Horn of Africa — Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.
Speaking on the new initiative, the World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim said, “This new financing represents a major new opportunity for the people of the Horn of Africa to make sure they get access to clean water, nutritious food, health care, education, and jobs”. “There is greater opportunity now for the Horn of Africa to break free from its cycles of drought, food insecurity, water insecurity, and conflict by building up regional security, generating a peace dividend, especially among young women and men, and spurring more cross-border cooperation,” he said. Leading the trip to the Horn of Africa, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon said, “The countries of the Horn of Africa are making important yet unheralded progress in economic growth and political stability. Now is a crucial moment to support those efforts, end the cycles of conflict and poverty, and move from fragility to sustainability. The United Nations is joining with other global and regional leaders to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach towards peace, security and development in the Horn of
The European Union also announced that it would support the countries in the region with a total of around $3.7 billion until 2020, of which about 10 percent would be for cross-border activities; the African Development Bank announced a pledge of $1.8 billion over the next three years for countries of the Horn of Africa region; while the Islamic Development Bank committed to deploy up to $1 billion in new financing in its four member countries in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda).
The World Bank Group said its new $1.8 billion packaging, which is in addition to its existing development programs for the eight countries, would create more economic opportunity throughout the region for some of the most vulnerable peoples, including refugees and internally displaced populations and their host communities. Wars and instability have generated more than 2.7 million refugees along with over 6 million internally displaced people.
The Bank Group will also help the region build up its communicable disease surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment capacity.