WASHINGTON, March 7– The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$20 million in emergency funds to boost Central Africa Republic’s support to the estimated one million people who were internally displaced during the current unstable political environment, focusing specifically on children and adults who are facing hunger and malnutrition.
Today’s funds are part of the Bank’s US$100 million commitment made in January 2014 to help restore key government services and provide much-needed food, healthcare, and other vital supplies for the people of the Central Africa Republic (CAR) after violence overwhelmed their country in recent months, and displaced more than 25 percent of the population.
The financing in the form of an International Development Association (IDA*) credit will support the activities under the Emergency Food Crisis Response and Agriculture Re-launch Project. The new project has two priorities. The first will be in restoring livelihood activities and assets destroyed by the ongoing conflicts while addressing the severe food crisis in the country. The second component will advance efforts to revitalizing the country’s agriculture sector ahead of the next planting season which starts in March 2014.
Both activities will involve close partnership with the United Nations system, and specifically the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“Clashes and violence in the country since August 2013 have led to the displacement of large numbers of the population, and to a growing humanitarian crisis,” said Gregor Binkert, World Bank Country Director for CAR, “With these emergency funds, the World Bank Group is committed to working together with the transitional government of CAR and other development partners, particularly the WFP and FAO, to address the dire need for food security and agricultural production during the next rainy season.”
The financing will improve access to food for the targeted people with a particular focus on children, including approximately 220,000 young children (6-59 months old) to prevent a spike in malnutrition. In addition it will focus on targeted supplementary feeding (TSF) to 7,500 pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and 33,500 children aged 6-59 months that suffer from moderate to acute malnutrition. Emergency school feeding (ESF) to 197,000 schoolchildren in the re-opened schools will attract children back to school and foster their educational development.
“This project contributes to a fast response in a situation of conflict and violence, building on the experience outlined in the World Development Report of 2011 on security and development,” said Manievel Sene, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project, “In particular, it leverages key UN capacities and greater access to preserve human capital and prevent further deterioration of conditions in the CAR, with potentially vast implications for the Central African sub-region. This will be important in sending early signals of normalization as emergency recovery interventions go in hand with expanded peacekeeping.”
The proposed project will help to resume and expand food production with new seeds and fertilizers, and local seed and farming producers, especially women farmers.
*The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world's poorest countries by providing zero-interest financing 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 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 1.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Between 2003 and 2013, IDA provided $256 billion in financing for 3,787 projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, benefiting on average, 36 African countries a year.