Last week, the IMF/World Bank meetings took place in Washington DC. Approximately 13.000 attendees from all over the world gathered to discuss and decide how to bring the world forward. 

More jobs and economic growth is crucial

The need for job creation, particularly in Africa, was a major theme throughout the week. More jobs and economic growth is crucial for reaching many of the important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly fighting poverty, climate adaptation and political stability. 

In a special session on the “State of the Africa Region”, the World Bank presented worrisome analyses of the present and future economic development (Africa’s Pulse Volume 20, The World Bank, October 2019) . Actually, Sub-Saharan Africa is now in its fourth consecutive year with zero or negative GDP/capita growth. The population growth is higher than the growth in the economy. Poverty is increasing. 

Indicates a GDP/capita growth of 0,5% in 2020 

Even though the projections for 2020 ad 2021 indicates a GDP/capita growth of 0,5 and 0,6 per cent respectively, the growth projections are far below what is needed to improve the living standards for the region’s population, fighting poverty and adapting to climate change. It should, however be mentioned that there are significant differences between the countries in the region, and particularly some countries in East Africa show more positive developments.

More investments are needed

Everybody agrees that more investments are needed to combat the poor economic performance of the region. Development finance institutions (DFIs) like Norfund, plays a crucial role to meet the region’s challenges.  But there are no easy solutions. During the week, Norfund and the other DFIs, together with the multilateral development (MDBs) met to discuss various issues of how they together can contribute even better. Among the many events, the European Development Finance Institutions’ Association (EDFI), teamed up with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), to arrange a high-level seminar on “DFIs’ Role in mobilizing Private Investment and Job Impact” to discuss the important role DFIs can play in the global development community. DFIs are essential to catalyzing private investment and building the relationship between private sector industries and public sector institutions.