Strategy How the World Bank’s activities on the continent is helping shape the African narrative

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Although the fiscals may not be entirely impressive, the “Africa Rising” narrative is still gaining momentum

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The African region has recorded a positive growth over the past decade.

Growth rates in developing economies are many times higher than in developed economies. Currently, Ethiopia has the fastest growing economy in the world. Report from the McKinsey 7 Company says the continent's gross domestic product will hit $2.6 trillion by 2020.

Regardless of this impressive height, Africa is still saddled with challenges as a result of the falling prices of commodities on the international market as well as other regional imbalances.

The World Bank says growth in Sub-Saharan Africa slowed markedly in 2016 to 1.5% and is projected to recover moderately in 2017.

Slower growth rates continue to heighten the continent's poverty level.

Although the fiscals may not be entirely impressive, the “Africa Rising” narrative is still gaining momentum as a result of the activities being undertaken by the World Bank on the continent. The following paragraphs highlight the interventions by the world bank to salvage Africa’s underdevelopment.

World Bank assistance

In 2016, the African region was granted $9.3 billion to undertake 109 projects among others.

The Bretton Woods institution has devised means to address the diverse issues confronting the African continent.

Improving agricultural productivity

Undoubtedly, the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project of the World Bank is one of the effective means deployed by the Bank to rescue Africa's drowning agriculture sector. The agriculture sector is the lead employer in Africa yet underdeveloped.

The $248 million active project has been rolled to improve access to essential productive assets, services, and markets for pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in selected trans-border areas and along transhumance axes across six Sahel countries.

Access to affordable and reliable energy

Accessibility to electricity is one of the prime challenges of the continent even though it has a lot of untouched renewable energy. The West African country Ghana has received $700 million for a facility to boost energy called the Sankofa Gas Project.

Building climate resilience and adapting to a changing climate

Global climate change is already having a toll on the continent. According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index for 2015, seven of the ten countries most at risk from climate change are in Africa.  The report shows that the change in temperature has affected the health, livelihoods, food productivity, water availability, and overall security of the African people.

In the face of this, the World Bank and other stakeholders have agreed to establish the West Africa coastal observatory to enhance the knowledge base on climate change hazards.

Developed framework for working in fragile and conflict affected states

Conflicts in middle-income countries are common and the World Bank keeps channeling lots of resources to resolving conflict them. The various initiatives put in place by the Bank helps rebuild fragile economies after conflicts. The operations of the Bank in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa is addressing the pressing issue of displacement.

Addressing fragility, conflict, and violence is a strategic priority to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.

Development in the Sub Saharan Africa is still nothing to write home about in general terms. The question is will activities by development partners such as World Bank help Africa achieve its success story? It remains to be seen.