World Bank’s Vice President for Southern Africa, Hafez Ghanem, announced yesterday that the organisation will finance projects in Angola worth US$1.5 billion until June, following an official visit to the country.
“We discussed with the Angolan Government an investment in agriculture, which creates jobs and increases food security, the development of rural areas; we debated the importance of value chains, agribusiness and projects to support farmers in dealing with climate change”, while other areas such as sanitation and infrastructure were also discussed, said Hafez Ghanem at the end of his visit to Angola.
“Between now and June, we will spend 1.5 billion dollars to support projects in these areas”, he pointed out during the press conference that marks the end of the visit of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, represented by the Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Sérgio Pimenta.
Speaking to the media, Hafez Ghanem praised the Angolan Government, namely in the reforms launched by the Executive, while also taking some pressure off the current economic recession, pointing out that the slowdown in economies is a common ground globally due to the effects of the pandemic.
On the fight against Covid-19 in Angola, the World Bank official pointed Angola as an example, recalling that “7 million people have already been vaccinated”, adding that he is “proud to be a partner of the Government, given that, when compared to its neighbours, Angola is in a much better situation”.
He concluded that for the World Bank, it is also very important to support women.
“From our experience across Africa, improving the status of women leads to improved human capital, better economic growth and a reduction in poverty, so we have $5 million programs to support 1 million women.”
For Sérgio Pimenta, leader of World Bank’s private sector arm, Angola “has enormous potential, but also great challenges that are being addressed together with the World Bank”.
“There are good prospects for an increase in financial involvement, I am very happy with this visit, we can disburse more funds and do more technical assistance, in the areas of renewable energies, telecommunications, digital economy, in short, there is a lot that can be done, although some projects need reforms at a governmental level and regulatory changes”, said Sérgio Pimenta, concluding: “There will be great progress and we are optimistic about the disbursement of more funds in more projects”.
Unlike the International Monetary Fund, which estimates a recession of 0.7%, the World Bank expects Angola to return this year to positive economic growth, with an expansion of 0.4% of GDP.
“Angola is expected to grow 0.4% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022, after five consecutive years of recession, but the country is still struggling to gain steam, with high levels of debt and a weak performance in the oil industry”, their latest report reads.
This report, titled “Africa’s Pulse“, released in October as part of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF.