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Finance ministers of Central, West Africa meet with World Bank to build sustainable growth

The West and Central Africa Ministers of Finance met with the World Bank Group in Abuja on Thursday to brainstorm on how to grow the sub-regions.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, said that the objective of the meeting was geared towards attaining sustainable growth and development.

Edun said that the meeting also discussed major projects financing through concessional funding for the West and Central African countries and the poor countries in general.

“This is focusing on the International Development Association (IDA). We are here to discuss the funding of electricity access, social safety needs, digitisation and the general issues that affect poor countries,” he said.

The World Bank Managing Director of Operations, Ms Anna Bjerde, said that central to the engagement was the challenge of energy access.

“Energy access is an excellent example of what can be accomplished. It is also an issue that African leaders have prioritised since 2000, and access to energy has more than doubled across Africa.

“Despite significant investment and progress at the current pace, close to 600 million Africans are likely to remain without electricity by 2030, with two thirds of those living in countries currently classified as protected.

“Together, we can do better to reach universal electricity access.

“By the end of the decade, the rate of electricity access growth will be to triple, this is doable and the World Bank Group is ready to accompany you in the journey from ambition to reality,” she said.

Bjerde said that one of the many lessons from COVID-19 was how important it was to have a strong tightening delivery system to help the most vulnerable countries build resilience to shocks.

“Whether they be from pandemics combat or climate, we accelerated the use of established cash transfer systems to reach more than 50 million people, or 10 per cent of the total original population.

“We also supported about 20 million farmers and pastoralists with urgent agricultural inputs.

“The investments that you have all carried out to build robust delivery and targeting systems means that more can now be done to help the most vulnerable.

“These examples show that transformation and impact are possible if countries decide to create the conditions to convert opportunities into transformation on the continent,” she said.

Bjerde said that the role of World Bank was more important than ever.

”We exist in order to work with you hand-in-hand toward the best achievable results for the prosperity of your countries.

“World Bank Group is a consistent and steadfast partner for countries in Africa,” she said.

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