Global crunch: World Bank’s African action plan underway




Drawing from the issues and lessons arising from the recent global economic crisis, the World Bank Group is reviewing its action plan for Africa. A new action plan for the continent that would take into cognisance post global crunch realities is to emerge out of the stakeholders’ consultations, which the bank is currently engaged in.

Already, stakeholders have identified key areas the bank needs to focus attention on in its engagement with the region.The World Bank Group’s engagement in Africa is guided by the Africa Action Plan (AAP), which was developed in 2005 to help every African country achieve as many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as possible.In revising the AAP in 2007, the bank’s management agreed to periodically report on progress in implementation of the plan, based on a three-tier monitoring system that assesses progress across Africa, risks to development outcomes, and the bank’s interventions and actions.

A release from the World Bank stated that since the last progress report in November 2008, the global economy had experienced the worst recession since what it termed ‘the Great Depression.’
As a follow-up to the consultation on the new strategy for the World Bank’s engagement with African countries held in Abuja on June 7, 2010, a video conference with other African countries has been scheduled for today.The World Bank is undertaking consultations and discussions on key sectors and areas of its activities to enable it better manage its global development agenda.

World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Onno Ruhl, said in a statement on Wednesday that “the consultations to help develop this strategy for the World Bank – known as the African Action Plan – begun this month with smaller focus groups in four Anglophone West African countries to identify the key issues from a wide range of stakeholders.

On June 7, 2010 a sub-regional forum in Abuja brought up some cross-country themes that we hope your enormous experience can help shape into more focused strategic visions during the June 18, 2010, meeting.“Based on feedback received so far, we have grouped discussion into three clusters of private versus public sector, regional integration and social accountability.

The expectation is that discussions will focus on these priority areas. Participants from the Nigerian site would focus on how these clusters and issues discussed at the June 7 impact on youth and women. Most participants from the Nigerian site would be youths.”

Africa action plan consultations, under the auspices of the region of the World Bank, are a part of these consultations and discussions. Four of such ongoing multi-stakeholder sub-regional consultations are planned for Africa and are intended to renew World Bank’s interventions in the region.

A report of the Abuja consultation held last week and released on Wednesday, noted that the bank had gone through a learning process after adopting and applying several strategies and approaches which included economic recovery programme and the poverty reduction strategy paper.
The report stated: “Since 2005, the World Bank Group’s engagement with Africa had been guided by the Africa Action Plan. Among other things, AAP was designed to enable African countries achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The periodic review which followed was made to meet the changing needs of the continent.  These were done however when the global economy was buoyant and aid to Africa was on the increase. “The dramatic global economic changes of 2008-9 had brought about equally dramatic changes in the global economic environment and in the continent. The changing international economic landscape, including that of Africa, had altered in a manner that the original design of APP could not possibly have anticipated.

“Although the worst effects of the last global economic shocks may have so far been addressed, the world economy still remains volatile. Also, even though some African countries are beginning to show signs of recovery, a post-crises World Bank strategy for the region has to be different and capable of ensuring that the continent’s economy is prepared to enable it benefit from the rebound of the global economy.“The AAP consultations are therefore meant to furnish the Bank with the fresh insights and right perspective it needs to scale up its operations in key sectors in the regions.”







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