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W’Bank chief Banga expects rich nations to meet Africa’s donation expectations

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Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank, has said that he thinks donor countries will follow through on African leaders’ desire to make record-high contributions to a low-interest facility for developing nations.

He explained that these were not gifts but investments in the future of those countries.

Ahead of a World Bank conference scheduled for later this year, African leaders on Monday called for rich countries to commit to record contributions to a low-interest World Bank facility for developing nations. At a meeting in Japan in December, African heads of state asked rich countries to help raise at least $120 billion for the International Development Association (IDA).

That would be a record for IDA, which gives poor countries long-term loans and works in cycles of three years. The most money was raised in 2021, when $93 billion was raised.

For funders to reach the goal of $120 billion, they will need to come up with about $30 billion, since the World Bank can borrow $3 for every dollar raised.

“There is no doubt that all the donor countries have their challenges and their fiscal responsibilities. But I think they all value the effect of contributing to IDA,” Banga said in an interview on Monday.

More than half of the 75 countries that use the IDA site are from Africa. A lot of people are dealing with big debts and natural disasters, but it’s hard for them to get cheap loans on foreign markets.

The African leaders said that this makes getting IDA loans very important.

Banga said that wealthy nations should understand that helping others is good for them. He used China and India as examples of countries that used to be poor but now have big economies after getting help from IDA.

“I think the most important message is actually that this is not a handout,” he said. “If Africa develops well, Africa has a lot to offer the world.”

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Musings From Abroad

China’s Hailiang, Shinzoom to establish vehicle battery installations in Morocco

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Hailiang and Shinzoom, Chinese car battery makers, will establish two separate operations in Morocco as the country strives to adapt its burgeoning automotive sector to rising demand for electric vehicles, Moroccan officials announced on Tuesday.

Tanger Tech, the Moroccan northern industrial zone’s development authority, said Hailiang intends to establish a $450 million copper facility on a 30-hectare plot of land. Shinzoom, a subsidiary of Hunan Zhongke, plans to invest $460 million in an anode plant spanning 20 hectares, according to a statement.

In April, the Moroccan government approved Chinese electric battery company BTR New Material Group (835185.BJE)’s plans to build a factory in Tangier to manufacture crucial component cathodes.

Another Chinese firm, CNGR Advanced Material (300919.SZ), plans to develop a cathode plant in Jorf Lasfar, 100 miles south of Casablanca, where the government has set aside 283 hectares for electric battery sectors.

Last year, the Moroccan government and China’s Gotion agreed to examine establishing an electric vehicle battery plant in the country, with a potential investment of up to $6.3 billion. Last month, Industry Minister Ryad Mezzour told Reuters that the Gotion project was moving forward, with conversations over its footprint and location.

Morocco’s strategic location on the Strait of Gibraltar, free trade agreements with important EU and US markets, and existing automotive sector cluster all attract Chinese enterprises.

In 2023, the automotive sector topped Morocco’s industrial exports with $14 billion, a 27% increase. Morocco is home to Stellantis (STLAM.MI) and Renault (RENA.PA) production factories with an annual combined capacity of 700,000 automobiles, as well as a network of local suppliers.

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Musings From Abroad

Prince Harry, Meghan treated to street-style dances in Nigeria as their trip winds down

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On Sunday, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were treated to street-style dances in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, where they announced a partnership between their Archewell Foundation and the non-profit Giants of Africa, which utilizes sports to empower young people.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are making their first visit to Nigeria, where they were welcomed by the country’s chief of defence staff. The couple watched basketball practice at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School on Lagos Mainland, where Harry participated in ball-bouncing drills and shot a hoop.

“What you guys are doing here at Giants of Africa is truly amazing,” he said. “The power of sport can change lives. It brings people together and creates community and there are no barriers, which is the most important thing.”

The couple watched basketball practice at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School on Lagos Mainland, and Harry stepped on the court for some ball-bouncing drills and to shoot a hoop.

Former Toronto Raptors star Masai Ujiri, president of Giants of Africa, wished Meghan a happy Mother’s Day and said his organization was uniting communities and uplifting young people through sport, especially. Archewell Foundation and Giants of Africa will construct a basketball court in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

“Talk about full circle again – never did I think we would be able to be here all those years later supporting the expansion of this incredible organization,” she said.
Harry and Meghan were set to round off their Lagos trip by attending a reception for a local charity. The couple live in the United States with their two children after Harry gave up working as a member of the royal family in 2020.

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