This article on the International Development Association (IDA) is for the purpose of increasing general knowledge. IDA was established in 1960 as part of the World Bank’s effort in helping many of the world’s poorest countries. Another lending arm of the World Bank is the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). IBRD provides assistance to middle-income countries which includes capital investment and advisory services.

Did you know that there are 81 countries altogether categorized under the world’s poorest countries and 39 countries are found in Africa? There are about 2.5 billion people living in these countries, which is half of the developing world’s population and about 1.5 billion of them survives on incomes of US$2 per day or even less. If your next question is “Is Malaysia one of these countries?” The answer is ‘no.’

As mentioned, 39 countries are from Africa (e.g. Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya), 15 countries are from East Asia (e.g. Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Samoa, etc.), 8 countries are from Europe and Central Asia (e.g. Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, etc.), 9 countries are from Latin America and Caribbean (e.g. Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, etc.), 2 countries are from the Middle East and North Africa (Djibouti and Republic of Yemen) and 8 countries are from South Asia (e.g. Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.).

The IDA provides funds for carrying out basic social services in these countries. It lends money (credits) at zero or minimal interest charges or gives out grants. IDA has 172 member countries and its funds mostly come from the contributions of wealthier member countries. For the year 2011, among the top ten IDA borrowers were Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Ghana. The financing addresses basic health services, primary education, clean water and sanitation and environmental safeguards among other things. Consequently, this promotes job creation, economic growth and better income and living conditions in the benefitting countries.

Key achievements

For the period 2000 – 2010, IDA has accomplished the following

• Recruited and/or trained more than 3 million teachers
• Built or rehabilitated over 2 million classrooms that benefits 105 million children per year. In India, 20 million more children were able to attend school through IDA’s assistance
• Access to basic health, nutrition, or population services were provided to more than 47 million people
• Immunization were given to 310 million children
• In transportation, over 118, 999 Km of roads and over 1, 600 bridges were constructed or rehabilitated
• In water supply and sanitation, over 113 million people have now access to a better water source

The above are just part of the results achieved in various countries with IDA’s assistance. We are living in the 21st century but in many parts of the world, life remains difficult. Below are some of the issues or world realities IDA is addressing

• There is lack of access to clean water for 1 in 7 people
• A child under the age of five dies from water-related disease every 20 seconds
• It is estimated that more than 1 billion people are undernourished
• Due to the worst drought in 60 years, 9 million people in the Horn of Africa are facing hunger

You can read more about IDA at

Jacquelyn is the co-author of the books “Teaching Your Kids About Money” and “Top 93 Personal Finance FAQs in Malaysia” with KC Lau. Jacquelyn is the pseudonym used by Amy Sipagal.

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