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TICAD 8: WB remains long-term partner to Africa (Malpass)

The World Bank Group (WB) remains a committed long-term partner to Africa: "a continent particularly vulnerable to the crises facing the world today," said President of WB David Malpass.

Speaking at the opening of the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8), Malpass said difficult times demand effective responses to weather the crises and lay the foundations for more prosperous and resilient economies.

"Immunisation rates in Africa remain low, many African countries face high levels of debt, food insecurity is rising and trade restrictions are taking their toll on countries that rely heavily on food imports," he added.

He recalled that almost half of the financing provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) goes to Africa.

"We work closely together in a number of areas, such as trade, which is a powerful tool for building resilient economies, reducing poverty and boosting prosperity."

Malpass further said: "At the WB, we advise governments on necessary trade policies, including the need to avoid export bans and other trade restrictive measures."

He added that his institution helps African countries provide targeted and much-needed social protection to the most vulnerable.

"We believe that well-targeted social protection programmes that benefit the poor offer much better value than untargeted food or energy subsidies that are costly and benefit the wealthiest consumers," he pointed out.

He said the COVID-19 social protection emergency response project in Tunisia aims to help the most vulnerable social groups, while at the same time strengthening the effectiveness and resilience of the wider social protection system.

"IDA supports much of the WB's work in Africa; we are working in partnership with IDA, our fund for the world's poorest, particularly in the areas of health, education, climate action, infrastructure and debt," he indicated.