This region has been severely impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic and ongoing climate change, two global crises whose effects have aggravated preexisting security, demographic and institutional challenges confronting many countries. Faced with these challenges, we must act. Act with ambition, priorities, urgency and impact. Act through transformational investments, and the provision of expert advice and quality knowledge products to improve living conditions. And act for the people of West and Central Africa. Our motto is: ‘People First: author commit to placing people at the forefront of our engagement with countries.’ Putting people first is particularly crucial at this moment. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had seen encouraging progress in many countries in the region. However, the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 have been devasting and far-reaching. In 2020, the pandemic pushed an additional 15 million people into extreme poverty. Furthermore, past gains are being threatened, and gaps in education, health, and jobs persist and are deepening. West and Central Africa is a region where the World Bank Group is committed to achieving progress in its mission to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. The region hosts about a quarter of the world’s extreme poor. More than 70 percent of the region’s population now lives in fragile, conflict, and violence affected (FCV) countries; 20 countries are eligible for the International Development Association (IDA) assistance, the single largest source of concessional finance for the poorest countries in the world. The battle to achieve poverty reduction and meet the Sustainable Development Goals will depend on progress made here.