Three New Funding Agreements to Spur Development and Reduce Poverty in Benin
April 10, 2014
- Benin and the World Bank have signed three funding agreements totaling $85 million.
- The first two agreements seek to accelerate growth and reduce poverty by addressing challenges related to governance and development
- The third agreement looks to boost employment by providing 17,500 job opportunities for youth
WASHINGTON, April 10, 2014 – On the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings, the Republic of Benin and the World Bank signed three funding agreements totaling $85 million on April 10th. The agreements seek to spur development in Benin.
“We killed two birds with one stone,” exclaimed Jonas Gbian, Minister of Economy and Finance, who signed the documents on behalf of the Beninese Government. “These new operations address key sectors in our country, and the added budget support will enable us to engage in significant poverty-reduction initiatives. The second operation will help us strengthen the capacity of local governance, while the third targets youth employment, a major concern of our government,” he added.
With budget support amounting to $20 million, the first agreement aims to assist with the implementation of the third Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP III), an initiative which intends to accelerate growth by addressing key challenges in the areas of governance, public finance management, and business climate reform.
The second agreement secures an additional credit of $30 million for the Decentralized Community Driven Services Project (PSDCC), a program designed to help poor communities increase their access to decentralized basic social services. This supplemental funding will support the realization of more than 300 infrastructure projects pertaining to education, health, water, and trade at the district and community levels. Every single one of Benin’s 77 districts will benefit from this project.
Young people account for 65% of Benin’s population, with unemployment and underemployment affecting a significant portion of this demographic. Benin’s development therefore hinges on the resolution of the youth employment issue
Over 17,000 job opportunities for Beninese youth
The third and highest funding agreement, totaling $35 million, targets youth employment issues in Benin. “Young people account for 65% of Benin’s population, with unemployment and underemployment affecting a significant portion of this demographic. Benin’s development therefore hinges on the resolution of the youth employment issue. To that end, Benin has designed a youth employment strategy plan which is effective through 2016,” explained Mr. Gbian.
Under the Youth Employment Project (PEJ), more than 17,000 Beninese youth will have the opportunity to develop their skills through apprenticeships or other types of technical training. The project will also help young people gain access to funding to finance their start-up or business. The PEJ is nationwide and will focus particularly on agro-processing, artisanal trade, and tourism.
Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank country director for Benin, commended the hard work of all those involved in bringing these three agreements to fruition. Mr. Diagana is confident that these new operations will not be hindered by red tape stemming from either the Bank or the Beninese Government.
“Our hope is that these operations will be executed in a timely manner in order to achieve the outcomes we all expect for the well-being of the Beninese people,” he noted.
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