WASHINGTON, February 27, 2014 – The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors has approved further support to Benin as the country expands access to basic education, health and water services for thousands of people living in the country’s poorest areas.
The new US$30 million IDA* credit will scale up efforts to bring essential services to communities under the existing Decentralized Community Driven Services Project. With the addition of these new resources, the project now aims to build schools to serve about 90,000 students and provide access to an improved water source for about 18,000 people. In total, the project is now expected to directly benefit about 270,000 people in the country by 2017.
“Benin has made strong progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals on some fronts, but many of the poorest people still do not have access to education and health services and clean drinking water,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Country Director for Benin. “We are delighted to help bring these essential services to poor communities, as it is central to our mission.”
The project’s emphasis on community participation supports the Government of Benin’s Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy for 2011-2015 which gives local governments (communes) the responsibility for key basic services, and encourages them to further delegate the implementation of small-scale development activities to communities. It will help to increase the participation of citizens at the local level, lower costs, and improve the number of development projects that are implemented.
With the new financing, all 77 of Benin’s communes will receive additional resources for commune-level investments, and about 300 additional communities will benefit from new community infrastructure. The project will also carry out training at all levels, including for communities.
“The community-driven development approach empowers poor communities to identify their own needs, receive training and funds to plan and implement subprojects, and to monitor services,” said John Van Dyck, World Bank task team leader for the project.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.