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New report on Africa highlights areas for improvement amid challenges- World Bank

New report on Africa highlights areas for improvement amid challenges- World Bank

The latest Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) score for 39 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region reflects progress made in social inclusion policies and structural policies, despite facing new international challenges, poor harvests, and price shocks in 2022, according to a World Bank report published this week.

The CPIA is an annual diagnostic tool for countries eligible for International Development Association (IDA) financing, the World Bank’s division that assists the world’s poorest countries.

This year’s report provides an assessment of the quality of policies and institutions in all 39 IDA-eligible countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for the calendar year 2022.

“Countries are rated on a scale of 1 (low) to 6 (high) across six dimensions, reflecting four areas: economic management, structural policies, policies for social inclusion and equity, and public sector management and institutions.”

The report noted that the average overall CPIA scores in SSA remained stable at 3.1, adding that while many countries made improvements in “policies for social inclusion” and “structural policies”, these improvements were offset, however, by stagnation in “economic management” and “public sector management and institutions.”

According to the World Bank, the gap between sub-regions grew in 2022, as Western and Central Africa (AFW) continued its upward trend, boosting scores slightly from 3.2 to 3.3, while Eastern and Southern Africa (AFE) remained unchanged at 3.0.

“However, this gap can largely be attributed to the performance of fragile and conflict-affected states. In 2022, the four lowest-scoring countries (South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan) were located in AFE and experienced conflict and fragility. Without these four states, the score between sub-regions is almost identical. While AFW also contains fragile and conflict-affected states, they performed relatively well, especially in economic management scores, owing perhaps to the beneficial impact of currency unions in West Africa,” it reported.

“At a time of high global interest rates and weak economic growth, it is encouraging to see progress in policy reform, especially around private-sector reforms and protecting vulnerable people from economic fluctuations,” said Nicholas Woolley, economist with the World Bank Office of the Chief Economist for Africa.

Besides providing scores, the CPIA report examines policy trends, noting examples of best practices in specific areas such as inflation, currency management, financing, growth, social protection, transparency, accountability, and. “The frequency, comprehensiveness, and rigor of the CPIA review can help drive country engagements and underpin an evidence-based dialogue around countries’ reform agenda,” commented Andrew Dabalen, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa.

“The recovery of economic activity in the region following the slowdown caused by COVID-19 has been multispeed, with wide variation across countries. Global events that diverted attention away from longer-term development priorities marked 2022. Inflation was the predominant form in which international pressures translated to domestic economies in SSA, resulting in stress on social policies and government budgets, on account of divergent responses by governments and private sector competition,” the report said.


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