The region of Africa south of the Sahara (also called Sub-Saharan Africa) is made up of 49 of the 54 African nations. Roughly 920 million people live there. The continent is often associated with war, disease, hunger and squalor. Africa is actually one of the poorest regions in the world: millions of its inhabitants live in poverty, lack access to clean water and sufficient health care. But this is only part of the truth. Africa is also a continent with opportunities. Several African nations are today among the fastest growing economies in the world: the average growth rate in recent years was 6 %. The telecommunications industry in particular is booming and, in many countries, bank transactions have been handled by mobile phone for quite some time.
Africa is changing: but growth also has to reach the poor. And this is where KfW Development Bank comes in: on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), it supports numerous projects and programmes that have been agreed with the partner countries. Schools and roads are built, health units constructed, improvements made to the water supply and sewage disposal and the use of renewable energy sources promoted and expanded. Support is provided for farming, food security and small loans for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs to make it possible for them to set up their own businesses. Governments are assisted in decentralising their administration. In 2017, KfW Development Bank considerably increased its commitments to Sub-Saharan Africa: around EUR 1.7 billion in funding was provided to the continent's nations.