COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Drives Sub-Saharan Africa Toward First Recession in 25 Years

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2020—Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has been significantly shutterstock_1649775301impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and is forecast to fall sharply from 2.4% in 2019 to -2.1 to -5.1% in 2020, the first recession in the region over the past 25 years, according to the latest Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s twice-yearly economic update for the region.

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the limits of societies and economies across the world, and African countries are likely to be hit particularly hard,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Africa.We are rallying all possible resources to help countries meet people’s immediate health and survival needs while also safeguarding livelihoods and jobs in the longer term – including calling for a standstill on official bilateral debt service payments which would free up funds for strengthening health systems to deal with COVID 19 and save lives, social safety nets to save livelihoods and help workers who lose jobs, support to small and medium enterprises, and food security.

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Doing more—and better—for Africa’s food system in the face of climate change

Africa’s food systems are in the throes of a climate crisis.  From devastating droughts in Southern Africa and West Africa to cyclones and flooding in East Africa, extreme weather is threatening crops and livestock and putting millions of Africans at risk for food insecurity. 237 million people suffer from chronic undernutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa, a number that rose in 2017, derailing gains that were made in previous years. The message from the headlines is loud and clear: We urgently need to adapt Africa’s agriculture and food system to climate change. And we need to act now. 

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Disruptive Agriculture Technology Moonshot—Ready for Lift Off in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Can Africa feed Africa? This question is frequently asked, especially when there are 25620190802-africafood1140x500 million people (1 in 5) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) who are critically undernourished.  And the numbers are growing. Escalating weather volatility due to climate change further exacerbate food and nutrition insecurity. Frequent droughts and floods are triggering a food crisis in at least one or more countries every year, demanding emergency responses.

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New Findex notes showcase digital financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa

We’re thrilled to release five new data notes in collaboration with the International 2019-Findex01Finance Corporation and Mastercard Foundation Partnership for Financial Inclusion outlining Sub-Saharan Africa’s successes and challenges in building digital financial inclusion. The notes—all of which are available for download at our homepage—draw on tens of thousands of surveys to explore how adults in the region use accounts, digital payments, and savings to manage their financial lives.

Sub-Saharan Africa leads one of the most exciting development innovations of our time—the rise of mobile money. Our first note explains how this technology can expand the use of financial services and describes how it has spread over time.

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Elsevier: Supporting Higher Education, Science, Technology and Global Competitiveness Globally by Partnering with the World Bank

For over 140 years, Elsevier has supported more than 1,000,000 global scientific and ELS_Logo_Orange_RGBacademic communities in their pursuit for new and verified scientific knowledge through access to peer-reviewed content, strategic research management tools, and capacity-building activities that promote and celebrate world-class science.

Over the last 12 years, Elsevier has closely collaborated with partners such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Dutch Organization for Internationalization in Education (NUFFIC) to support activities in emerging economies to enhance higher education and research, develop better science and technology, and improve local competitiveness. These efforts have allowed Elsevier and, specifically, the World Bank, to co-launch several regional and country initiatives and research metrics and evidence to contribute to promotion of discussions on research investment and collaboration.

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Which Way to Livable and Productive Cities? : A Road Map for Sub-Saharan Africa

For African cities to grow economically as they have grown in size, they must create 9781464814051_pdfproductive environments to attract investments, increase economic efficiency, and create livable environments that prevent urban costs from rising with increased population densification. What are the central obstacles that prevent African cities and towns from becoming sustainable engines of economic growth and prosperity? Among the most critical factors that limit the growth and livability of urban areas are land markets, investments in public infrastructure and assets, and the institutions to enable both. To unleash the potential of African cities and towns for delivering services and employment in a livable and environmentally friendly environment, a sequenced approach is needed to reform institutions and policies and to target infrastructure investments. This book lays out three foundations that need fixing to guide cities and towns throughout Sub-Saharan Africa on their way to productivity and livability.

Download full report here.

 

The jobs challenge is bigger than ever in the poorest countries

Over the next decade, close to 600 million people will be looking for jobs, mostly in the The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) - Ghanworld’s poorest countries. The South Asia region alone will need to create more than 13 million jobs every year to keep pace with its demographics. In Sub-Saharan Africa, despite a smaller population, the challenge will be even greater—15 million jobs will need to be created each year.

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Across Africa, disaster risk finance is putting a resilient future within reach

Sub-Saharan Africa knows more than its fair share of disasters induced by natural across-africa-disaster-risk-finance-is-putting-a-resilient-future-within-reach-780x439.jpghazards. The past few months alone have seen drought in the Horn of Africa, floods in Mali and Rwanda, and landslides in Ethiopia and Uganda. Between 2005 and 2015, the region experienced an average of 157 disasters per year, claiming the lives of roughly 10,000 people annually.

Disasters can have a debilitating impact on countries’ growth and development prospects. Losses from disasters are only expected to rise as the impacts of climate change intensify across the region. Given these challenges, governments have often been reliant on external aid and budget reallocation to pay for disaster recovery. However, this financing strategy comes at a cost. Uncertainty and delays in aid flows tend to complicate planning for relief and recovery efforts, and budget reallocations can divert funding from vital development programs.

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Why the World Bank is adding new ways to measure poverty

The 2018 Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report shows how poverty is changing and World Bank buildingintroduces improved ways to monitor our progress toward ending it.

The landscape of extreme poverty is now split in two. While most of the world has seen extreme poverty fall to below 3 percent of the population, Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing extreme poverty rates affecting more than 40 percent of people. The lamentable distinction of being home to the most people living in extreme poverty has shifted, or will soon shift, from India to Nigeria, symbolizing the increased concentration of poverty in Africa.

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The Race for Universal Energy Access Speeds Up

STORY HIGHLIGHTS energy

  • A billion people still live without electricity, but certain countries are starting to adopt new approaches to expand electricity services – reaching millions of people in the past few years.
  • The number of people gaining access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa has begun to outstrip population growth for the first time. In South Asia, progress has been even faster.
  • Much more work will be needed to achieve universal electrification by 2030, as called for in SDG7. The World Bank is significantly ramping up financing for energy access programs, with support for mini-grid and off-grid projects growing the fastest.

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