(Bloomberg) — The World Bank plans to allocate $5 billion to bring electricity to 100 million people in Africa by the end of the decade, according to the organization’s president, Ajay Banga.
Banga highlighted that ambition Wednesday as an example of how he plans to wield funds from the bank’s International Development Association, which provides zero- or low-interest loans to low-income countries, and why it’s important for donor countries to provide support.
In remarks prepared for delivery in Zanzibar, Tanzania, he pointed out that some 1.1 billion young people in the Global South will reach working age over the next decade.
“But how can we hope to make even adequate progress while 600 million people in Africa – 36 million of whom live here in Tanzania – still don’t have access to reliable electricity?” Banga said. “Put simply: We can’t.”
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Nominated by President Joe Biden and about six months into the job, Banga spoke as the bank reviews its latest replenishment round for the IDA, which totaled $93 billion. He said he wants donors to make the next round, in December 2024, to be another record.
“We are pushing the limits of this important concessional resource and no amount of creative financial engineering will compensate for the fact that we need more funding,” he said, according to the prepared remarks.
Banga, the former chief executive of Mastercard Inc., arrived in Zanzibar after taking part in the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. “There is a lot of energy,” he said in an interview in Dubai on Sunday. “There seems to be political alignment. I’m going to take all the tailwind I can get.”
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