African economies showed considerable resilience in the face of global economic adversity in 2015, posting growth of about 4.5% backed by US$73.5bn in foreign direct investment. In particular, sub-Saharan Africa witnessed a 3.7% average economic growth in 2015, down from 4.6% in 2014. The lower oil and commodity prices contributed to lower inflation in oil importing countries. However, uncertain global conditions, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and domestic political uncertainties restricted the return of stronger growth levels. Extreme poverty remains widespread across the continent despite continued economic growth.
In keeping with its mandate to prioritize the low-income nations, OFID’s presence in Africa extends to 49 countries, including all 33 of the region’s LDCs. This focus has resulted in the continent receiving by far the largest share of OFID’s cumulative assistance.
In 2015, 33 African countries shared total OFID financing of US$575.2m, or 49% of approvals for the year. In keeping with development priorities on the continent, US$150.7m (26%) went to the energy sector for a wide range of initiatives, both large and small, utilizing traditional as well as renewable technologies.
Transportation was also high on the agenda, with around US$133m (or 23% of aggregate approvals) committed to help promote socioeconomic integration, chiefly through more efficient road links. Some US$100.0m (17.4%) was channeled to the agriculture sector to boost food and nutrition security and to help small-scale commodity producers access export markets.
With regard to the type of financing, around two-thirds (US$386.7m) was approved in concessional public sector lending for a broad range of infrastructure improvements. The private sector attracted US$102m (17.6%); the resources supporting both real economy-sector projects and the activities of SMEs, with the goal of boosting job creation and productivity.
Trade activities accounted for US$81.8m, or 14.1% of approved financing to the continent, all but US$20m of that sum going to Burkina Faso in three separate transactions. The region also benefited from generous grant funding in 2015, with some US$7.9m supporting 13 initiatives across a diversity of sectors.