4 March 2011
The World Bank has launched a new strategic plan to enable Africa improve its competitiveness and create more jobs for the continent to alleviate poverty more effectively.
The plan will focus on three pillars that seek to improve competitiveness, assist countries including Zambia to diversify their economies and generate jobs; in particular for the seven to 10 million young people entering the labour market.
World Bank vice president for Africa region Obiageli Ezekwesili said via video conference yesterday that in implementing the strategy, the World Bank group would engage with citizens as they demand greater participation in the benefit of improved economic performance.
“We will deploy our partnerships, knowledge and finance to work with Governments, private sector, civil society and partners to help countries to speed up the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGís), expand economic prosperity and reduce poverty,” she said.
The plan, titled ‘Africa’s Future and the World Bank’s support to it’ shifts from a more general focus on seeking economic stability and sound fundamentals to emphasise the need for attention in three key areas.
The three areas are Competiveness and employment ,vulnerability and resilience and Governance and public sector capacity.
Under the competitiveness and employment pillar, it tries to help to close the gap between infrastructure needs and investments of about $48 billion annually and support efforts to make it easier for business to operate. In addition the plan would focus on building the skills of workers.
The World Bank plan will also focus on enhancing governance and public sector capacity which was critical to the growth of the economies.
She said services in the education, health and basic infrastructure are often either not delivered or badly delivered because of weak management of public funds.
With Africa facing an unprecedented opportunity to transform and improve the lives of its people, the World Bank is responding with a new, ambitious strategy which could help Africa Economies take off, the way the economies of Asia did 30 years ago
“On Tuesday the World Bank Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new strategy for Africa which marks a significant shift in the way the organisation views Africa and its own role as a supporter of the continent progress.
“Laid out in three main business lines, the programmed was crafted over more than a year through extensive research and international consultations, especially with the people in Asia,” she said.
Speaking earlier, World Bank country manager Kapil Kapoor said previously the World Bank strategy was guided by the document called the Africa Action Plan and from the financial crisis perceived the need to take a look at the strategy.
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