International Development AssociationRepresentatives from over 50 countries met in Myanmar to discuss future steps on how the International Development Association could help people living in extreme poverty.

The International Development Association, or IDA, is the lending branch of the World Bank. They provide aid to the poorest countries in the world by offering low-interest loans, grants and advice to the places that need it.

Donors in Myanmar met specifically to discuss how to most efficiently use their money to best help the countries that need it by replenishing the IDA.

According to the World Bank, the plan is to “leverage IDA’s equity by blending donor contributions with funds raised through debt markets, in order to provide clients with billions of dollars in additional resources.”

At the moment, the IDA is focused on four specific issues—climate change, fragile and conflict-affected countries, gender equality and inclusive growth—although they address other matters as well. All these issues combine to hinder growth and economic development in some of the world’s poorest communities.

The International Development Association’s desire to reduce these inequalities align very well with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to tackle similar issues by the year 2030, lending credence to the IDA’s plans.

All told, the IDA hopes to help build successful governments that will nurture citizens by catering to their basic needs and beyond.

Started in 1960, the IDA has provided $312 billion in financing to the countries that needed it most. In Chad, 2.6 million books were sent to schools, and over 400 classrooms were built and equipped, allowing 20,000 people to learn how to read and write.

Poverty in Ethiopia fell from 44 percent to 29.6 percent in 11 years thanks to agricultural growth projects and spending on basic services, both partially funded by the IDA.

In Nepal, 6 million women in 2015 received prenatal care, versus 2.6 million just five years prior.

Finally, in Myanmar—the site of the current meeting—850,000 people benefited from infrastructure and service projects meant to improve schools and roads.

The International Development Association promises to continue to help developing countries make strides towards a better future. The next IDA replenishment meeting takes place from October 7-9, 2016 in Washington D.C.

Sabrina Santos

Photo: World Bank