May 21, 2024

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African Religious Organizations Call for Tripling Size of Vulnerable Countries Fund

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Washington, DC — The World Bank program that provides aid to poor countries should triple funding by 2030, said interfaith African organizations in a statement addressed to leaders meeting in Nairobi. On April 29th, the President of Kenya, William Ruto, hosts the International Development Association (IDA) for Africa Heads of State Summit to mobilize funding for IDA. As the largest source of grants and low-cost, long-term loans to the poorest countries, IDA enables recipients to spend on poverty reduction and development priorities without adding to debt burdens.

“Countries in Africa, home to most of the IDA borrowers, spend three times servicing debt what they spend on health,” said Caritas Africa, the All Africa Conference of Churches, Islamic Relief and Jubilee USA Network in a statement. “In this region, which year after year sees the growing devastation of droughts, cyclones, land degradation and other effects of climate change, debt service amounts to 18 times their climate adaptation expenses.”

Negotiations with donors for replenishing the IDA aid program conclude at the end of the year. IDA negotiates with donors and replenishes the aid resources every three years.

“Amidst staggering debt levels, IDA is the largest provider of funds that can help countries without creating more debt,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network, one of the organizations signing the statement. “Dramatically boosting IDA funds can address growing crises in some of the poorest countries.”

Average incomes in one-third of IDA countries remain below pre-pandemic levels. The last replenishment, finalized in 2021, generated $93 billion over the 2022-2025 period. However, IDA borrows the bulk of those resources from private markets, whereas donor contributions have dropped for the last 10 years.

By Jubilee USA Network

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