By Ejidiah Wangui
NAIROBI, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank has committed 57 billion U.S dollars to development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa in the next three fiscal years, said a press release from the Bretton Woods Institution on Monday.
Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President said the funds will support implementation of projects that transforms the livelihoods of communities in the world's second largest continent.
Kim who is currently on a trip to Rwanda and Tanzania to emphasize the World Bank's support for the entire region including Kenya, said the bulk of the financing (45 billion U.S dollars) will come from the International Development Association (IDA), the lender' special fund for the poorest nations.
He said the funds will cover health, education, and infrastructure projects such as expanding water distribution and access to power.
Kim indicated that while much of the estimated 45 billion U.S dollars in IDA financing will be dedicated to country-specific programs, significant amounts will be available through special "windows" to finance regional initiatives and transformative projects, support refugees and their host communities, and help countries in the aftermath of crises.
"This represents an unprecedented opportunity to change the development trajectory of the countries in the region," Kim added.
Expected IDA outcomes include essential health and nutrition services for up to 400 million people, access to improved water sources for up to 45 million, and 5 gigawatts (GW) of additional generation capacity for renewable energy.
The scaled-up IDA financing will build on a portfolio of 448 ongoing projects in Africa totaling to about 50 billion U.S dollars.
Of this, a 1.6 billion U.S dollars financing package is being developed to tackle the imminent famine threat in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The financing for Sub-Saharan Africa also will include an estimated 8 billion U.S dollars in private sector investments from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a private sector arm of the Bank Group, and 4 billion U.S. dollars from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the bank's unit for middle-income nations.
"To support countries' development priorities, scaled-up investments will focus on tackling conflict, fragility, and violence; building resilience to crises including forced displacement, climate change and pandemics, and reducing gender inequality. Efforts will also promote governance and institution building, as well as jobs and economic transformation," Kim said.
The funding is expected to be rolled out from July 1 this year to June 30, 2020.