A new trust fund for the SahelTo help the Sahelian nations of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal move away from expensive emergency aid, steadily reduce poverty, and build long-t... Show More +erm food security and climate resilience, the World Bank has launched a new multi-donor Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Trust Fund, with initial support of US$75 million from the United Kingdom.“Helping poor and vulnerable people in Africa’s crisis-prone Sahel region as they struggle to survive in the face of natural disasters, political and economic uncertainty, and disrupted livelihoods is a very high priority for the World Bank, said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa. “The United Kingdom’s support is generous, timely, and strategic, because it will give millions of the world’s poorest people a very real chance of breaking free of poverty and to pursue opportunity even when faced with great odds.”Climate-smart social safety netsSocial safety nets are now on the rise among low-income countries in Africa. These programs routinely cushion poor and vulnerable people against losses of income that could force them to cut down on nutritious food for their families, take their children out of school, or make distress sales of precious assets such as livestock.The “adaptive” approach that the new trust fund will support integrates basic social protection of this kind with disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change. For example, it could help countries to anticipate climate-related events such as droughts and quickly scale up cash transfers via their social safety net programs in response.Also, public works supported by social safety nets—in which able-bodied adults work for cash or food—could help build climate-resilient infrastructure in vulnerable areas, and avoid subprojects that make it harder rather than easier to adapt to climate change.Mory Maidoka Ali, National Coordinator of the Safety Nets program and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Niger explains that the Niger safety net—which provided cash for work in some of Niger’s poorest regions—helped rehabilitate nearly 7,000 hectares of degraded soil, built over 4,200 km of firebreaks and de-silted 49,000 cubic meters of pond-water.“These activities benefited more than 15,000 vulnerable households in Niger,” Ali said.The Niger program shows how safety net programs can intersect with disaster Risk management and climate change adaptation in the Sahel, and how more than one objective can be achieved by the same program. “Adaptive social protection isn’t just about safety nets,” said Stefano Paternostro, World Bank Practice Manager for Labor and Social Protection in West & Central Africa. “It also integrates or connects with a whole range of other activities such as early warning systems for natural disasters, formal or informal risk insurance in vulnerable communities, and giving people access to useful information, skills, employment, and income earning opportunities”.Knowledge and innovationThe World Bank Group has been at the forefront of social safety nets in Africa, playing a key role in supporting many programs, from Ethiopia’s longstanding Productive Safety Net Program and Tanzania’s cash transfer program that is now being scaled up nationwide, to fledgling safety nets that are being set up in Niger, Mali, and several other African countries.Niger’s safety net, for example, is already making a difference to thousands of women like Dijé Issa and to prospects for their children. Over five years, it will cushion about a million people in the most vulnerable parts of a country hard hit by frequent drought and volatile food prices.The new Trust Fund will support the documentation of social protection knowledge in the Sahel out of a range of programs and activities such as this one—including evidence of what works and what doesn’t in individual countries—and will contribute to a growing body of analytical work and rigorous evaluation of social protection in Sub-Saharan Africa.While drawing on country experiences in Africa, Latin America, and other developing regions, the trust fund will also encourage specific innovations suited to the Sahel. In addition, it will provide complementary funding alongside the World Bank Group’s support for the Sahelian countries, which is through IDA, its fund for the poorest countries.The World Bank Group’s commitment to the Sahel“Strong safety nets that factor in the particular challenges of low-income countries such as those in the Sahel are very well aligned with World Bank Group’s twin global goals of eliminating extreme poverty and building shared prosperity,” said Arup Banerji, Senior Director for the Social Protection & Labor Global Practice.In 2013, the World Bank Group pledged $1.5 billion to the Sahel to help boost economic growth and accelerate poverty reduction. This is in addition to its ongoing development multi-country and national programs in the region already worth several billion dollars. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, July 7, 2014 - The World Bank Group committed a record-breaking *$15.3 billion to Sub Saharan Africa’s development in fiscal year 2014 (July 2013 to June 2014) supporting shared prosperity... Show More + in the Region and focusing on increased efforts to reduce poverty.“Africa is making significant progress and at the World Bank we are stepping up the momentum to innovate and think big in order to help our clients achieve their development goals. We applaud the improved policies and prudent fiscal decisions many governments have made and we will continue to provide financing through loans and grants, technical expertise and to mobilize our unique convening power to leverage the resources of other development partners,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region.The Bank Group continued its strong commitment to Africa delivering $10.6 billion in new lending for 160 projects this fiscal year (FY14). These commitments included a new record of $10.2 billion in zero-interest credits and grants from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. This is the highest level of IDA delivery by any region in the World Bank’s history.Private Sector-Led Growth and Job CreationIFC's work in the private sector in Africa during FY14 focused on bridging the infrastructure gap, promoting a productive real sector and leading inclusive business approaches to help drive growth and job creation. IFC investments on the continent amounted to over $4.2 billion, with over $3 billion committed in IDA countries and almost $800 million in fragile and conflict-affected states. IFC spent $55 million on Advisory Services programs in the region, 96 percent of which was distributed to IDA countries.In FY 2014, MIGA issued guarantees of $515 million in support of projects in the oil and gas, power, services, and telecommunications sectors. The Agency also teamed up with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to establish a $350-million political risk facility that will support planned investments in sustainable agribusiness in up to 13 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The Bank Group worked collaboratively to tackle development challenges and focused on regional projects in sustainable energy, irrigation, water management, and food security, and also on job training programs for youth, preventing malaria and other tropical diseases, and on social protection for poor families across the region. Fragility and Emergency ActionIn FY14, the Bank Group focused its efforts to act quickly and effectively in emergency situations across Africa. In response to the crisis in Central African Republic, the Bank delivered emergency development funds of over US$70 million to help restore key government services and to support food distribution and health services.Major regional initiatives focused on the challenges of fragility and conflict. In November 2013, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim pledged $1.5 billion to boost economic growth and lift the people of Africa’s Sahel Region out of devastating poverty. Kim’s pledge came during an historic joint trip to the Sahel with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Boosting EnergySub-Saharan Africa is blessed with large hydropower resources that can create electricity, yet only 10% of its potential has been harnessed. Boosting access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy is a primary objective of the Bank’s work in Africa. During the fiscal year (FY14) projects focused on developing hydropower potential and providing new forms of sustainable power to increase energy production and benefit millions of Africans.In a major push, IBRD, IFC, and MIGA combined forces under a joint Energy Business Plan for Nigeria. The plan will support Nigeria’s energy reform program and help increase installed generation capacity by about 1,000 MW while mobilizing nearly $1.7 billion of private sector financing for Africa’s largest economy. Many projects benefit from IBRD, IFC, and MIGA working together across the World Bank Group to better leverage their development impact in the region.In FY14, the Bank also supported the 80-megawatt Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project in Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania, and provided a $100-million grant to Burundi for the Jiji-Mulembwe hydropower project. Both initiatives will increase electricity generation capacity benefitting millions of Africans.Improving Agricultural ProductivityThe Bank supports country-led efforts to improve agricultural productivity by linking farmers to markets and reducing risk and vulnerability; increase rural employment; and make agriculture more environmentally sustainable. Projects during FY14 included support for improving pastoralism through community development and livelihoods in Ethiopia, boosting agribusiness in Senegal, and pushing the envelope on landscape management, notably in the Sahel.Higher Education for DevelopmentHigher education plays a key role in promoting economic growth and development especially for Africa’s fastest growing youth population. As one of the largest financiers of higher education in the region, the World Bank is mobilizing its knowledge and leadership behind countries to champion education. The World Bank’s new $150-million Africa Higher-Education Centers of Excellence project is funding 19 university-based centers for advanced education in West and Central Africa. It will support regional specialization among participating universities in mathematics, science, engineering and ICT to address regional challenges.For more information about the World Bank Group's total support to developing countries in FY14 click here. *Preliminary and unaudited numbers as of July 7 Show Less -
WASHINGTON, June 23, 2014—River blindness is a terrible disease that causes severe discomfort and eventual blindness among infected people. Known in the medical world as onchocerciasis, the disease ha... Show More +s been steadily beaten back in Africa thanks to 40 years of coordinated efforts to defeat it. The flies that spread river blindness breed in fast-flowing water. As a result, vast tracts of fertile land in Africa, fed by rivers such as the Volta, were unsafe for agriculture as recently as the 1960s. But today,25 million hectares of land are free of river blindness, restoring livelihoods and boosting food security.In fact, in 28 countries of the 31 African countries where river blindness is endemic, people no longer go blind from the disease. This victory against river blindness has been possible because of a wonder drug called ivermectin, which now reaches and protects 100 million people across a vast swathe of Africa.1952: “The country of the blind”Lady Jean Wilson, wife of Sir John Wilson, former director of the British organization Sightsavers, recalls a silent “country of the blind” during a visit to rural West Africa nearly 60 years ago. There, sightless men were guided by children, while blind women found their way to the community well using a rope.In 1952, the year the Wilsons drove out from Accra, the capital of Ghana, towards the Volta River, river blindness was so tragically common that hundreds of villages were abandoned for fear of the dreaded infection. The impact was devastating for poor people who lived off the land.Lady Wilson coined the term ‘river blindness’ to help raise awareness about the disease and how it spreads among vulnerable people. The new name was a step forward for both the advocacy and the painstaking coordination that would be needed to check its transmission in Africa.1974: An “incredibly audacious” commitmentThe World Bank’s first health project, initiated in 1974, was its support to the fight against river blindness, one of several debilitating ‘neglected tropical diseases’ (NTDs). This initiative signaled former World Bank president Robert McNamara’s recognition of the cruel nexus between poverty and disease, and the link between disease and development.Mrs. Diana McNamara, who was among several speakers at a 40th anniversary celebration in Washington, said her late husband was happy to have made this contribution. Images of disease and of poverty had left a great impact on him after a visit to Upper Volta (present-day Burkina Faso), she said.The Onchocerciasis Control Program (OCP) that was set up 40 years ago began by treating large areas in 11 countries with a larvicide.Mr. Tim Evans, Director, Health, Nutrition and Population, World Bank Group said that the OCP’s aerial spraying using helicopters was not a fool’s errand, as some saw it, but an important first step, and that the river blindness partnership’s commitment had been “incredibly audacious” at the time.1988: “A game-changing intervention”While the larvicide spraying was effective, it was also expensive to keep up, and there were signs of emerging resistance. Clearly, a new and more sustainable solution was needed.Trials of ivermectin (Mectizan) in the 1980s showed it could be used to prevent river blindness. In 1988, Mr. Roy Vagelos, former CEO of Merck & Co., and one of the team of scientists who developed the drug, promised to donate as much Mectizan to control river blindness in Africa as would ever be needed.Looking back on 40 years of partnership, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim noted that back in the day when there were scant resources for global health, this decision to donate ivermectin for as long as was needed in Africa was a “game changing intervention” by Merck and all other partners.Ms. Geralyn Ritter, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility, Merck & Co. reaffirmed Vagelos’s 1988 commitment to donate Mectizan free of cost for as long as needed, as much as needed, and wherever needed.“Twenty seven years later, we are doing just that,” Ms. Ritter said.1995: APOC is set up, contributes to “peace dividend”Today’s African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), set up in 1995, took Mectizan to 19 countries at first. The program has been implemented by the WHO, with fiscal management by the World Bank and critical support from African health ministries, the private sector, donors and NGOs.Princess Alexandra, President of Sightsavers, spoke of the thousands of community volunteers across Africa who are working with Ministries of Health, APOC, and non-governmental organizations to distribute Mectizan, the drug donated by Merck, to their communities. Her Royal Highness highlighted that the involvement of the volunteers who have come together to defeat the disease is essential to the river blindness programs.As President Kim observed, APOC’s river blindness control was often part of the peace dividend when long-running conflicts ended in many countries, such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. In fact, he said, the only countries in Africa where river blindness still causes loss of sight are those where conflict persists.2014: APOC sets its sights on new goalsDr. Luis Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa, noted that although APOC was first set up to control river blindness, it now aims for complete elimination of the disease in Africa. All 47 ministers of health in Sub-Saharan Africa have recently agreed to expand APOC’s mandate over the period 2016-2020, he said.APOC’s community-based approach can be adapted to combat the other preventable NTDs—especially elephantiasis, but also bilharzia, trachoma, and intestinal worms. Pharmaceutical companies have agreed to donate preventative drugs to address all of these diseases.Dr. Sambo cautioned however, that this was a complex undertaking which called for an investment case, a pledging conference to build a solid support mechanism, and commitment from African governments and the broader partnership to translate promises into effective delivery.“I think that this undertaking is socially fair, technically feasible, financially affordable and politically commendable,” he concluded.The World Bank Group’s commitmentWith reference to APOC, and in his capacity as Dean of the World Bank Group’s Executive Board and Executive Director for Kuwait, Mr. Merza Hasan endorsed APOC’s successful river blindness model and called for sustained commitment to the NTDs. “Let’s finish the job,” he said, “We are not far away.”Mr. Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa noted that, in addition to supporting APOC, the Bank is also helping African countries to address the NTDs, with commitments of nearly US $120 million this year.“Our support, as you know, is because these diseases are closely linked to deep poverty and to losses of productivity,” Mr. Diop said, also mentioning the Bank’s intention to help tackle NTDs in the Sahel.A recent study by Summers et al in the Lancet suggested that improvements in health outcomes from 2000-2011 in developing countries accounted for 24% of ‘full-income growth’ during that period.Full-income growth adds the monetary value of changes in life expectancy to changes in GDP growth.Referring to this study, President Kim said, “We now know that investing in health is not just the right thing to do morally, we know that it’s the smart thing to do in terms of spurring economic growth.”“As we consider the way forward in fighting the neglected tropical diseases, we have to remember that these diseases are also diseases of neglected people,” he concluded. 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This paper uses World Bank survey data,
including about 10,000 households in five countries --
Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda -- to
investigate t... Show More +he link between international remittances and
households' financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The paper finds that receiving international remittances
increases the probability that the household opens a bank
account in all the five countries. This result is robust to
controlling for the potential endogeneity of remittances,
using as instruments indicators of the migrants'
economic conditions in the destination countries. Show Less -