The African Development Bank (AfDB) has been recognized for supporting millions of people across Africa, affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

According to the annual Development Effectiveness report released by the bank, the pandemic caused fiscal deficits to double and indebtedness to rise sharply. This reduced the capacity of African countries to invest in economic recovery. The AfDB responded swiftly with a COVID-19 response facility that provided Ksh. 404 billion (USD 3.6 billion) in emergency budget support.

The funding went into key areas such as health, social protection, and economic assistance, benefitting 12.3 million vulnerable households across 31 countries.

In Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal, the bank helped to subsidize water and electricity bills for vulnerable households. In Sierra Leone, it supported the training and protection of 11,000 frontline health workers. With the Bank’s support, Ethiopia’s daily COVID-19 testing capacity quadrupled. And in Morocco, AfDB helped the country upgrade health infrastructure, allowing for efficient patient care.

The Annual Development Effectiveness report notes that SMEs supported by the Bank generated revenues of Ksh. 224.8 billion ($2 billion), helping them weather the pandemic in 2020.

Additionally, projects funded by the bank in 2020 connected 260,000 people to electricity supply. Around 16.4 million people benefited from improvements in agriculture. About 9.2 million people gained access to better transport services, and 8.3 million people benefited from new or improved water and sanitation.

The Annual Development Effectiveness Report further found that the bank continued to improve its efficiency and performance, increased income and reduced administrative expenses. For another year running, the Bank retained its AAA credit rating.

As African countries begin to build back boldly from the pandemic, the Bank’s priority in the coming year will be to help countries identify the right policy measures and investments. This will help them achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

Published annually for the past 11 years, the Annual Development Effectiveness Report analyzes the Bank’s contribution to Africa’s development.

The report also tracks the impact of the Bank’s cross-cutting goals and long-term objectives of fostering sustainable development and green growth.