World Bank officials yesterday claimed they have substantially achieved their objective of raising more than $1 billion for a special new fund to support economic recovery and policy reform in subsaharan Africa.
At a meeting of officials of 23 countries in Paris last week, actual pledges for the multilateral pool of money came to only $667 million from nine countries, including a contribution of $150 million from the bank itself.
A pledge of another $150 million is expected to be announced shortly by Canada, raising the total pledged for the multilateral facility to more than $800 million. "That's quite an achievement without counting on four major countries -- Japan, West Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland," a bank official said.
Those four countries pledged an additional $425 million at the Paris session in a "special joint financing." But although those funds will be used bilaterally for the same purposes as will be the multilateral facility, they are not part of it, nor was it clear yesterday how much of the $425 million will be "untied."
When donated funds are untied, the procurement can take place in any country contributing to the pool, and used in any country approved by the bank for participation.
Bank officials anticipate that much of the $425 million from the four nations will be untied.
The United States, which attended the Paris session, had indicated in advance that it would not contribute to the new fund because of other commitments to subsaharan African aid and development.
The bank's initiative for the new facility has been under way since mid-1984, and is designed to reverse the sharp economic decline of the region and help restore growth.
The funds will be disbursed only to those nations that pledge to restore a semblance of economic order by undertaking specific reforms.
In persuading the donor nations to participate in the special effort, the bank's representatives argued that, without a concerted mutlilateral and bilateral approach, whatever forward momentum exists in African countries such as Ghana, Zambia, Madagascar and Senegal would be lost.