scroll to top arrow or icon

{{ subpage.title }}

How to tackle global challenges: The IMF & World Bank blueprint
How to tackle global challenges: The IMF & World Bank blueprint | Global Stage

How to tackle global challenges: The IMF & World Bank blueprint

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s Spring Meetings in Washington have told a tale of two economies: In the developed world, inflation is falling, and recession looks unlikely. But many of the world’s poorest countries are struggling under tremendous debt burdens inflated by rising interest rates that threaten to undo decades of development progress. That means these key lenders of last resort have their work cut out for them.

The good news? There’s a proven model, as GZERO Senior Writer Matthew Kendrick discussed with Tony Maciulis at a Global Stage event while reporting on the meetings. Somalia, once the byword for a failed state, managed to implement massive reforms to its financial system to meet the guidelines of the IMF’s Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

Read moreShow less
World Bank announces plan to bring power to 300 million in Africa
World Bank announces plan to bring power to 300 million in Africa | Global Stage

World Bank announces plan to bring power to 300 million in Africa

World Bank Group is bringing power to the people. Literally.

This week, during the bank’s annual Spring Meetings, the group announced a major new initiative to provide electricity to 300 million Africans by 2030. It is estimated that nearly 800 million people globally lack access to power, and the vast majority of them, 600 million, live on the African continent.

GZERO’s Tony Maciulis met with the World Bank’s Director of Infrastructure for West Africa Franz Drees-Gross, to discuss the project's details.

Over the next six years, the World Bank aims to connect 250 million people using $30 billion of public sector funding largely drawn from its International Development Association. The development finance institution provides low-interest loans and grants to the poorest countries. The group has also partnered with the African Development Bank, which has committed to supporting an additional 50 million people.

The connectivity will come from a combination of sources, some existing and some to be created by the project.

“It turns out that the most cost-effective way to connect those 250 million people is to connect about half of them using off-grid solutions,” Drees-Gross said. “So that means solar home systems, it means mini-grids that aren't connected to the larger national grid, and the other half of that goal will have to be connected by grid extensions and grid densifications.”

The ambitious plan comes with challenges including fortifying and modernizing existing utility companies to be able to consistently provide power and collect customer payments.

“The problem in many Sub-Saharan African countries is that utilities aren't recovering their costs,” Drees-Gross said. “They lose 30, 40, sometimes 50% of electricity due to commercial and technical losses. Since they only invoice a fraction of what they buy from the generators and then fail to collect that entire amount, that leads to a deficit.”

That inconsistent business has made the utilities less attractive to private-sector investors. World Bank hopes its support in stabilizing the power industry in the region will be an opportunity that will bring in private investment, ultimately powering the growth of more economies in Africa.

For more of our 2024 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings coverage, visit Glogal Stage.

AI for all: Leave no one behind, says Microsoft's Brad Smith
AI for all: Leave no one behind, says Microsoft's Brad Smith | Global Stage

AI for all: Leave no one behind, says Microsoft's Brad Smith

Artificial intelligence could level the playing field for individuals across an array of disciplines...if people have access to it. Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President Brad Smith, points out that access to AI tech remains a privilege that is still unavailable to hundreds of millions around the world.

Speaking in a GZERO Global Stage discussion from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith points out that while the conversation about AI seems advanced in Davos, a lot of people in the Global South don't yet have access to AI, let alone basic needs like electricity, access to electronic devices, and internet connectivity.

“In a sense, we do the Global South a tremendous disservice if we talk about AI all the time as the next thing,” he said. First, "close the electricity divide, the broadband connectivity divide, the device divide, and then you can close the AI divide on top of it."

Read moreShow less
Ari Winkleman

The Graphic Truth: Natural gas prices make EU power costs soar

EU natural gas prices have gone through the roof since Russia invaded Ukraine and cut off gas flows. This has sent European electric bills soaring — to the point that Brussels is ready to intervene in energy markets to protect consumers.

Read moreShow less

French firm to build one of the world's biggest batteries in Australia

November 05, 2020 2:34 PM

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - France's Neoen SA has won a contract to help stabilise the power grid in the Australian state of Victoria, supporting Neoen's plan to build the country's biggest battery, due to be switched on by the end of 2021.

Cheap solar panels power consumer appliance boom in North Korea

April 18, 2019 11:57 AM

SEOUL (REUTERS) - Years after they first appeared in North Korea, increasingly cheap and available solar panels are giving a boost to consumer consumption and industry as Pyongyang tries to limit the impact of tough international sanctions.

Asia's mega-cities need clean energy drive to cope with environmental threats

March 28, 2019 4:57 PM

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Avoiding threats from climate change and pollution will require Asia's booming cities to become much more efficient in their use of energy resources, delegates at a city development conference said on Thursday (March 28).

Sri Lanka seeks divine help to end power crisis

March 28, 2019 4:43 PM

COLOMBO (AFP) - Sri Lanka's state energy provider sought divine intervention on Thursday (March 28) to break a crippling power shortage, dispatching envoys to the country's north to offer holy water to a tree sacred to Buddhists.

Subscribe to our free newsletter, GZERO Daily