The World Bank will increase its support towards innovative business and infrastructural reforms in order to boost economic development on the African continent.
Projects that support market liberalisation, mobile banking, and innovative infrastructural reforms, especially in the ICT industry will be given a priority.
"Last fiscal year, we financed projects worth $5.3 billion in the sub-Saharan Africa. We expect this budget for the African continent to increase by the next year because we believe Africa presents high hopes for the rest of the world," Jean Philippe Prosper Vice president World Bank Group told The New Times on the sidelines of the Transform Africa summit in Kigali. "This year five per cent of our budget went to the African continent. This will, by the end of this year, increase to 20 per cent. We will not be surprised if Africa is number one priority on our list."
According to Philippe, a 10 per cent ICT penetration rate will result into an increase of about 1.3 per cent Gross Domestic Product on the African continent. The Bank is already supporting Rwanda Revenue Authority's new application which will facilitate SMEs to declare and pay their taxes on time.
While Asia's broad band penetration has reached 60 per cent, and 40 per cent in Latin America, Africa still lags behind with only 3 per cent penetration.
Rwanda is on track:
"Rwanda is surprising the rest of the world, it's now ranked number 32 out the 189 countries we surveyed in our doing business report 2014." Hamadou Toure, the Secretary General International Telecommunications Union said economic development on the continent should be private sector driven.
Hamadou challenged African leaders to transform the continent from being a passive consumer to becoming an active producer for the rest of the world's economies. Robert Kayihura, director legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft world ,pledged support in capacity building.
"As Microsoft we are ready to support those projects which will help solve the problem of the skills gap on the African continent," Kayihura said. "A lot of business opportunities are not yet exploited on the continent because of lack of right technological skills."