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Five operational priorities
The Strategy outlines five main channels for the Bank to deliver its work and improve the quality of growth in Africa. First recommended by the High Level Panel review of 2007, and later enshrined in the Medium Term Strategy for 2008–2012, these are areas in which the Bank has the greatest comparative advantage and proven track record. Over at least a decade, Bank and other research has repeatedly confirmed that they provide a compelling and consistent framework for the Bank’s operations.
The 2011 review of the Medium Term Strategy showed that the focus on these priorities had served its clients well, but that a longer planning horizon and a longer term strategy were needed —underpinned by three-year rolling action plans.
Africa still has massive infrastructure needs. It invests only 4% of its GDP in infrastructure, compared with 14% in China. Bridging the infrastructure gap could increase GDP growth by an estimated 2 percentage points a year.
The Bank has made significant contributions to infrastructure development in Africa, and tens of millions of Africans are now better off thanks to Bank investments in transport, energy and water. The Bank intends to scale up infrastructure financing to the continent significantly—not just through its own lending but by leveraging its financial resources.
Regional economic integration
Integration is essential for Africa to realize its full growth potential, to participate in the global economy and to share the benefits of an increasingly connected global marketplace. Having 54 individual countries, often without the physical and economic machinery to act in tandem, seriously limits this possibility. The Bank is well positioned to play a leading role in fostering Africa’s economic integration to create larger, more attractive markets, to link landlocked countries, including fragile states, to international markets and to support intra-African trade.
Private sector development
The dynamics of wealth and job creation in Africa—and a number of the tasks of government—are increasingly driven by private rather than public funds. Working both directly and indirectly with governments, the Bank will continue to be an increasingly active partner and facilitator for private investment in Africa.
Delivering finance and providing advice and technical assistance, it will design activities that respond to the specific needs, opportunities and challenges of the private sector. It will focus on African entrepreneurship, addressing the constraints that face women and young entrepreneurs and supporting micro, small and medium enterprises. In strengthening the financial sector, it will stimulate lending to micro, small and medium-size enterprises, help develop local capital markets, promote better governance and risk management of financial institutions and promote the adoption and implementation of financial standards and regulations.
Governance and accountability
Economic growth can only be built on the firmest foundations of just, transparent and efficient governance and institutions administered by the capable state. Responding to demands in Africa for better governance and basic services, the Bank will assist institutions that support inclusion and promote accountability—for example, by strengthening the capacities of parliamentarians, the media and civil society organizations. To improve public financial management, the Bank will do more to support fiscal decentralization and domestic resource mobilization.
Skills and technology
Unemployment across Africa is unacceptably high, especially among young people. To increase the supply of skilled workers, the Bank will step up its support for technical and vocational training linked to specific needs in the labor market. The aim is to equip young people with the right skills for both the formal and informal sectors, including the skills to create small businesses.