The recent IDA for Africa Heads of State Summit in Nairobi highlighted the important role of IDA21 in supporting Africa’s economic transformation and development agenda. Here’s a snapshot of how food and nutrition appeared at the summit

But before we get started, what is IDA21?

IDA is the World Bank’s International Development Association. It provides concessional (zero or low interest) loans and grants to low-income countries. With a 30-40 year repayment period, IDA is an important source of long-term financing for national development plans. Every three years, development partners replenish IDA, agreeing funding and policy priorities.The last time the replenishment took place in 2021, donors agreed to a  $93 billion financing package for IDA countries. In 2024, they will negotiate the 21st IDA Replenishment. . 

With so many low-income countries facing unsustainable debt, IDA 21 will be an important source of funding to tackle the global food crisis including through investments in food and nutrition security, human capital, smallholder agriculture and food systems transformation. 

Why was the meeting happening in Africa? 

Of the 75 countries IDA supports, 39 are in Africa and 70% of its resources are directed towards Africa. It’s therefore really important that African governments set out their priorities for the replenishment.  

So what was decided when it comes to tackling the food crisis? 

The IDA for Africa Heads of State Summit was the first of its kind and 19 African Heads of State participated. They issued the Nairobi communique setting out their priorities and asks.  Out of the 5 priorities set out, issues related to the food crisis were mentioned twice. Firstly in the call to invest in stronger human capital and the creation of more and better jobs including through enhancements in nutrition. Secondly in a call to build resilience through promoting sustainable agriculture and food security.  Read more here.

The President further explained that by investing in IDA, 60 per cent of the world’s arable and uncultivated land will be unlocked, meaning food security and nutrition for the globe.

What about civil society?

A new coalition was launched at the Summit bringing together partners, across civil society, foundations, private sector and youth, to work for a bold replenishment of IDA. We joined forces with ONE and other civil society leaders to issue a call to action in this memorandum which included a call for food and nutrition security, smallholder agriculture and food systems transformation to be at the heart of IDA21. 

What Next? 

The IDA for Africa Heads of State Summit highlighted the imperative for international collaboration and the importance of the IDA21 replenishment for tackling multiple challenges on the continent. Whilst we would have liked to see greater emphasis on food and nutrition security issues, it was a good first start and we’ll keep up the pressure so we see the policy reforms and investments we need to end the cycle of  food crises and accelerate progress towards SDG2.

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