By David Muwanga
UGANDA is to benefit from a $77b (sh150.1b) fund pledged by the World Bank to support African countries to minimise the impact of the global financial crisis.
â€œThe crisis is undermining progress made by Africa over the last 10 years as an attractive destination for private capital and exacerbates the impact of the sharp increase in food prices and volatility in the oil markets,â€ the World Bankâ€™s vice-president for Africa, Obiagelli Ezekwesili, said.
The crisis has triggered quick depreciation of currencies and major declines in stock market prices with foreign investors in securities and equities selling off large shares of their African holdings.
â€œThe bankâ€™s staff in Africa should scale up activities aimed at identifying needs client countries arising from the global financial crisis, review bank programmes and projects and determine additional bank response,â€ Ezekwesili said.
â€œWe must determine what we have to do differently on a needs basis to support any request by African countries. The bank teams are expected to report country needs associated with the financial crisis over the next few years,â€ he explained in a recent statement.
â€œThrough the International Development Association (IDA) and donor contributions of $42b over the next three years, the World Bank is working with the worldâ€™s poorest countries to accelerate needed support,â€ Ezekwesili said.
Lending from the World Bank Groupâ€™s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is also expected to triple to more than $35b.
â€œThe impact of the crisis and recession on Africa will slow down private capital flows. Already, Ghana and Kenya have postponed sovereign bond issues worth about $800m,â€ the bankâ€™s chief economist for Africa, Shanta Devarajan, said.
He said remittances worth about $15b a year to Africa and foreign aid were likely to be affected.