ABCs of IDA—Jobs and Economic Transformation

ABCs of IDA - Jobs and Economic Transformation

Economic growth has the power to transform societies, boost incomes, and enable citizens to thrive, but growth alone is not enough. To reduce poverty and ensure shared prosperity, growth that creates more, better, and inclusive jobs is needed. Improving financial access, strengthening skills training, supporting a strong private sector and building sustainable infrastructure helps connect people to job opportunities that can help end poverty in the poorest countries. (Download ABCs of IDA - Jobs & Economic Transformation in pdf format.)

The challenges facing developing countries are immense. More than 200 million people worldwide, disproportionately youth, are unemployed, while another 2 billion working age adults, mostly women, remain outside the workforce. To keep pace with population growth, developing countries will need to create 600 million additional jobs by 2030. Two billion adults still lack access to formal financial services. And 1.1 billion people worldwide still lack access to electricity.

Economic transformation is about changing the nature of jobs, of changing what people do, where they do it and how they do it. The jobs diagnostics undertaken by the World Bank show clearly that the degree of economic transformation determines how widespread job creation will be and the extent of productivity and income gains that result from these jobs.

The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s Fund for the poorest, has a well-established track record of supporting economic growth and investments that create jobs and boost incomes.

From 2011 to 2017, IDA supported the construction of 134,000 kilometers of roads. And more than 25,000 people in Afghanistan benefited from skills training from 2013 to 2015.

Learn more about how IDA supports country efforts to boost economic growth and create jobs, and be sure to see our other “ABCs” (achievements by country) of IDA, including highlights of our work in Africa, on gender, climate, governance and institution building, and conflict and fragility at

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | LM | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



  • From 2003 to 2015, the National Solidarity Program and 31 partners, including IDA, have worked through community development councils to identify and implement 86,000 small-scale reconstruction and development activities, including projects to improve water supply and sanitation, rural roads, irrigation, power, health, and education. The program has generated over 52 million days of work for skilled and unskilled workers and has helped establish 33,400 community development councils across Afghanistan that are democratically elected through secret ballot.
  • 25,696 people benefited from a project to develop job skills and increase incomes for graduates of technical and vocational schools from 2013 to 2015. 
  • From 2011 to 2015, 434 small- and medium-sized enterprises have received grants to develop their businesses, which has helped create 1,385 jobs. 
  • 732 kilometers of tertiary roads and 825 meters of tertiary bridges have been completed across Afghanistan from 2012 to 2015. Over the same time period, more than 3,000 kilometers of tertiary roads have been maintained.
  • From 2010-15, 69,427 people were provided with sustainable employment opportunities through supported rural enterprises, with women making up 42 percent of the project's beneficiaries. 95 percent of beneficiaries were also provided with access to finance. 41 percent of SMEs supported by the project reported increased revenue, out of which 14 percent were female owned.



  • 61 percent of beneficiaries of a rural livelihood program increased their incomes by 50 percent between 2011 and 2015. Over the same time period, 48,780 jobs were created for young people. 
  • 1.6 million days of employment were generated and financed by cash wage payments between 2012 and 2014.
  • From 2011 to 2015, eight firms received a license to develop and economic zone in Bangladesh and five new economic zones and technology parks were in progress as of 2015. The time to process a business registration in an economic zone dropped from 44 days in 2011 to 8 days in 2015. 


  • 750,000 people benefited from community-driven projects between 2005 and 2012; 160,000 additional students were enrolled in school, and 25,000 people gained access to clean water.


  • From 2008 to 2014, 2,891 families—the majority from indigenous populations—accessed 151,579 hectares of land to grow crops and raise livestock through productive associations, helping increase average household incomes by 39 percent. 38 percent of participants in agricultural and administrative skills training were women, and women were active board members in 74 percent of the associations established through the project.
  • More than 16,000 families have benefited from a project to improve access to markets for smallholder farmers in rural Bolivia through self-managed grassroots organizations.
  • The Rural Alliances Project supported 770 producers’ organizations in 110 rural municipalities, benefiting 29,000 families, 90 percent of which are indigenous. Households participating in the project increased their income by 33 percent.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • From 2010 to 2015, 11,400 people benefited from employment services and targeted cash transfers. 55 percent of people who received training and an employment subsidy remained employed for a year after the training or subsidy ended.

Burkina Faso

  • 9,741 new formal jobs were created as of mid-2012 and 70,624 businesses were registered by the business registration one-stop shop as of the end of 2014.



  • 91,500 people in rural Cambodia were provided with access to improved water sources and 615 kilometers of roads were rehabilitated from 2009 to 2014 as part of efforts to help the country recover from Typhoon Ketsana.
  • The Trade Development Support Program has helped Cambodia improve trade policy capacity and improved its business environment. The country’s Ease of Doing Business rank improved to 127 in 2016, up six places from 133 in 2015. Improvements in the efficiency of trade infrastructure and export-import systems are reflected in a rise of 46 places—from 129th in 2010 to 83rd in 2014—on the Logistics Performance Index.


  • More than 71,000 people have benefited directly from cash-for-work and community-based infrastructure projects with IDA emergency financing in response to the global crises and the local floods of 2012.

Congo, Democratic Republic

  • 69,017 people benefited directly from the reconstruction of community infrastructure such as schools, water points and bridges in eastern Congo from February to December 2014.
  • 500 villages benefited from the construction of rural infrastructure, including 1,765 kilometers of roads, from 2011 to 2015.
  • Access to livelihoods and socioeconomic infrastructure was improved for 69,017 people in vulnerable communities in the eastern provinces of DRC from Feb.-Dec. 2014. The sectors targeted were health and education, infrastructure rehabilitation and agriculture. 36,441 beneficiaries were women.

Congo, Republic of

  • 875,000 people in in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire benefited from a water, electricity and urban development project from 2010 to 2015. 395,000 were provided with access to improved water sources and 400,000 people benefited from improved drainage and access to all-season roads.

Côte d'Ivoire

  • 634 kilometers of rural roads were rehabilitated between 2012 and 2015.
  • 18,000 former soldiers, armed individuals, and at-risk youth participated in economic reintegration activities from 2008 to 2012.
  • 74 sub-prefecture offices were constructed, and 65 kilometers of rural roads were rehabilitated using labor-intensive methods from 2008 to 2012.



  • Poverty fell from 44 percent in 2000 to 29.6 percent in 2011—driven by IDA-supported agricultural growth projects, government spending on basic services, and effective safety nets, underpinned by consistent and high economic growth.
  • 1.1 million people in rural areas of Ethiopia were provided with access to improved water sources from 2014 to 2015.
  • From 2010 to 2015, more than 5,500 jobs have been created in Ethiopia’s tourism industry. Capacity building efforts have led to an increase in international tourist spending by about a third and has helped train more than 1,600 professionals.



  • 5.9 million days of employment were provided to a total of 123,106 unskilled workers, with women making up about 60 percent of the beneficiaries, from 2010 to 2015.
  • 589 kilometers of feeder roads, 134 small earth dams and dug outs, and 80 climate change interventions were completed in 2015.



  • 150,000 households in a Nairobi slum were connected to safe, reliable and affordable electricity in 2015, up from just 5,000 in 2014, thanks to a partnership between the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Output-Based Aid and Kenya Power. 
  • More than 2 million rural Kenyans saw increases in their incomes from 2007 to 2015 through a rural community empowerment project.

Kyrgyz Republic

  • 83,000 people benefited from connecting 3,902 households to community water points, improvement of 1,000 existing piped household water connections, as well as from construction and rehabilitation of 226 community standpipes from 2009 to 2014. In addition, 44 schools were provided with access to water.


Lao, PDR

  • From 2010 to 2015, improvements on 171 kilometers of two national roads in Lao helped reduce travel times by 60 percent and 40 percent. 731 kilometers of rural roads and 456 kilometers of non-rural roads were rehabilitated during the same time period.


  • From 2014 to 2015, 28,616 people benefited from a project to improve Lesotho’s business environment, increase access to finance, and diversify the country’s economy by developing selected non-textile sectors.


  • 10,800 hours of on-the-job training were provided from 2011 to 2015 through a project to improve and maintain roads.



  • 1.6 million households in urban areas received access to electricity between 2009 and 2015, benefiting 3.7 million people.
  • 45 percent of the rural population had access to an all-season road in 2015, up from 32 percent in 2007.


  • From 2014 to 2015, average annual lending to export-oriented enterprises increased by nearly 57 percent.


  • From 2007 to 2013, 6,000 sub-projects in education, health, pasture management and microfinance supported communities in rural Mongolia.


  • 795,508 people in urban areas gained access to improved water sources from 2007 to 2015.
  • The number of days it takes to issue a commercial license in Mozambique dropped from 42 days in 2009 to 7 days in 2015. The number of days it takes to issue an industrial license dropped from 32 days in 2009 to 13 days in 2015. Over the same time period, sales increased by about 10% for firms benefiting from a matching grant program.


  • From 2013 to 2015, 850,000 people in 1,729 villages benefited from 1,800 basic infrastructure and services projects, including projects to improve school facilities and village access roads.



  • As of August 2015, more than 73 percent of graduates of vocational training programs were gainfully employed for at least six months after the training program, compared to 68 percent in March 2014.
  • From 2011 to 2015, 54,821 people benefited from urban services and infrastructure improvements in Nepal. 45 percent of the beneficiaries were women and 53 percent were from disadvantaged groups.
  • From 2008 to 2014, an IDA-funded project to build and improve irrigation systems has improved access to water resources for more than 415,200 farmers in Nepal. The new and improved systems cover 26,859 hectares of land, mostly in hilly regions.


  • 1.8 million days of temporary employment were created, of which 477,630 days were for women, between 2011 and 2015.
  • 126,341 people benefited from a project to improve the competitiveness and value of agricultural product exports.


Papua New Guinea

  • 500,000 people gained access to mobile phone services in rural Papua New Guinea from 2011 to 2015.  
  • From 2010 to 2015, 34,000 smallholder coffee and cocoa farmers have benefited from a project to help improve productivity, fight crop diseases and provide better market information so farmers can make more money from their harvest. The project helped cocoa and coffee yields more than double from 2011 to 2014.



  • 412,000 households in Rwanda were connected to the grid and 3,000 kilometers of transmission and distribution lines were constructed from 2009 to 2015, enabling citizens to access reliable and cost-effective electricity.



  • 423,000 agricultural producers and processors in Senegal benefited from the development, dissemination and adoption of improved agricultural technologies from 2012 to 2015.
  • The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) helped enable research to develop climate-smart agriculture with 14 new high-yielding, early maturing and drought-resistant varieties of millet, sorghum and cowpea.
  • WAAPP has also supported 99 PhD and 71 master’s degree students to build scientific careers and fill gaps observed in some agricultural research areas.

Solomon Islands

  • Access to telephones in the Solomon Islands increased to 60 percent in 2014, up from 8 percent in 2010. The cost of a three minute mobile call to a local number dropped to 13 cents in 2014, down from $1.20 in 2010.
  • From 2010 to 2016, construction of community infrastructure employed 12,000 young people from vulnerable communities and created more than 664,000 days of employment in the Solomon Islands. 60 percent of the people employed were women and 53 percent were between the ages of 16 and 29.

Sri Lanka

  • From 2008 to 2014, the Road Sector Assistance Project resurfaced 620 kilometers of road, including nearly 160 kilometers of rural roads. In 2005, 52 percent of Sri Lanka’s national highways were in poor condition; by 2013 the number was reduced to 35 percent.
  • 645 kilometers of roads were constructed or rehabilitated, 600 households received new piped water connections, and 400 water points were constructed or rehabilitated from 2010 to 2015 as part of a local services improvement project in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka.



  • 16.9 million work-days were provided through public works in 2015, an increase of 213 percent from 5.4 million work-days in 2005.


  • In 2015, 50 percent of Tongans had access to internet services, up from 1 percent in 2011. Access to mobile phone services increased to 96 percent in 2015, up from 59 percent in 2011.



  • Access to electricity in Vietnam increased from 60 percent in 2011 to 98 percent in 2014. Over the same time period, 325,000 households in remote rural areas were provided with access to electricity.


Updated as of October 2017