The World Bank Group committed $52.6 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees to help promote economic growth, overcome poverty, and promote economic enterprise in developing countries during fiscal year 2012, which ends on June 30.
The bank recently lowered its growth forecast for 2012 to 5.3 percent for developing countries, down from its January estimate of 5.4 percent, and noted that developing country budgets and central banks are not as well placed as they were in 2008/09 to address slowing economies
Their ability to respond may be constrained if international finance dries up and global conditions deteriorate sharply.
As developing countries face strong economic headwinds, the Bank Group supported an estimated 884 operations to promote opportunity and get needed services to the poor – for example, by improving education and health services, promoting the private sector, building infrastructure, and strengthening governance and institutions.
The World Bank Group institutions contributing to this financial outcome are: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which provides financing, risk management products, and other financial services to members; the International Development Association (IDA), which provides interest-free loans and grants to the poorest countries; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which makes equity investments, and provides loans, guarantees and advisory services to private-sector business in developing countries; and the Bank Group’s political risk insurance agency, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
“The Bank is well positioned for future challenges,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick, whose term as President ends at the close of the FY12 fiscal year. “Since I joined the institution, the Bank Group has committed over $300 billion – most of it to help countries overcome food and economic crises.
“But just as important as the finance is our ability to work with countries—both the public and private sectors—as clients and to customize our services to address their problems.
“I would like to thank Bank Group staff for their hard work in rising to the challenge during my term and express my gratitude for their ability to respond quickly and flexibly to the needs of our partner countries and companies.”
As the 11th president of the World Bank, Mr. Zoellick turned around an institution in trouble in 2007, recapitalized the Bank, and expanded financing for the poorest countries following the food, fuel and financial crises of recent years.
He modernized the Bank by making it more accountable, flexible, fast-moving, transparent, and focused on good governance and anti-corruption.
He has increased representation of developing countries in governance and staffing and encouraged developing countries to set their own priorities rather than have them dictated from the Bank.
His record has also been marked by an increased role for the private sector through IFC, which under his leadership has recruited sovereign wealth funds and pension funds to invest in poor countries, especially in Africa.
According to preliminary and unaudited numbers as of June 29, IDA commitments in FY12 were $14.7 billion, down from $16.3 billion in FY11.
The largest share of resources was committed to Africa, which received around 50 percent of total IDA lending in FY12, followed by South Asia at around 36 percent of total.
IBRD commitments totaled $20.6 billion—significantly higher than the historical average ($13.5 billion in fiscal 2005–08), but less than the record $44.2 billion in fiscal 2010, when the crisis peaked.
Europe and Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean received the largest shares of IBRD lending, each receiving $6.2 billion in new commitments.
New Bank Group commitments to agriculture and related sectors in FY12 are expected to reach $9.1 billion.
This exceeds projected lending in the Bank’s Agriculture Action Plan, which foresaw an increase in assistance from an average of $4.1 billion annually in FY06-08 to $6.2-$8.3 billion annually in FY10-12.
Over the life of the Action Plan, assistance averaged $7 billion. IBRD/IDA assistance in FY12 is the highest in 20 years (in nominal terms).
The World Bank continues to engage with countries to improve risk management strategies and offer financial products that can help reduce their vulnerabilities.
The volume of risk management transactions executed by the Bank on behalf of client countries this year to manage the volatility of currency and interest rates is estimated at $2.5 billion.
In addition, the Bank provided advisory services on public debt management to 40 countries, as well as financial products that meet our member countries’ risk management objectives.
IFC, the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector, again provided a record amount of financing to businesses in developing countries—leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges.
Preliminary and unaudited data as of June 28 indicate that IFC investments totaled more than $20 billion, including funds mobilized from other investors. That marked an increase from $18.7 billion in FY11.
It included an estimated record of more than $15 billion in commitments made on IFC’s own account—an increase of more than 25 percent over FY11. It also included almost $5 billion mobilized from other investors. These investments supported approximately 580 projects, creating opportunity wherever it was needed most.
IFC maintained its strategic focus on the poorest countries and regions—especially sub-Saharan Africa, where estimated IFC investments climbed to a record of more than $4 billion as of June 28. Nearly half of all IFC investment projects were in the poorest countries eligible to borrow from IDA.
“In a time of rapid economic change, IFC established a significant record of growth, innovation, and development impact,” said IFC EVP and CEO Lars Thunell, who over the past six years presided over a doubling of IFC’s investments and a heightened focus on the world’s poorest countries and regions. “We did so by leveraging all of our strengths as a leader in private sector development, and by focusing our efforts wherever they could achieve the greatest good.”
The Bank Group’s political risk insurance arm, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) issued $2.3 billion in guarantees—an increase from the previous year. The agency supported 51 projects across the globe and issued $637 million in guarantees for sub-Saharan Africa in particular.
“This fiscal year MIGA saw an increase in demand for our guarantees,” said Izumi Kobayashi, MIGA’s Executive Vice President. “Amendments made to our convention last fiscal year expanded our ability to insure different kinds of investments and contributed to this uptick—as has continued global volatility that prompted investors to evaluate their risk mitigation and investment strategies and look increasingly to developing markets.
“Importantly, our portfolio was highly diversified this fiscal year, as MIGA-supported projects spanned all regions and sectors—especially complex infrastructure—with almost half our new projects supporting investments in the world’s poorest countries.”
Financial commitments provided by the World Bank Group to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, a major priority for the institution, increased by $2.8 billion in FY12 to $12.2 billion and included $7.4 billion in IDA credits, grants, and guarantees to sub-Saharan Africa, (up from $7 billion from the previous year); $4 billion from IFC for private sector development projects; $147 million in IBRD lending; and $637 million in MIGA guarantees for projects in the region.