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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank to Help Democratic Republic of Congo Strengthen Management of Health and Education Systems

April 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved support to the Democratic Republic of Congo as the country strives to strengthen management of its health and education systems and make rapid and sustainable progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

Economic growth in the DRC has been impressive in recent years based on the country’s prudent macroeconomic management and supported by its abundant natural resources. While poverty has been reduced from 71 percent in 2005 to 63 percent in 2012, the DRC has enormous challenges on the human development front— 28 percent of women have not attended school, 148 babies out of every 1,000 do not live to see their fifth birthday, and half of all children under the age of five are malnourished.

The government has now prioritized human development and is focusing on raising the quality of key public services. Despite having a large number of trained midwives, for instance, the maternal mortality rate is very high at 549 deaths per 100,000 births, which suggests poor quality services. Also, health and education ministries recognize the need to develop their capacity to spend resources efficiently, including through better data collection and information management for better decision making and improved monitoring of the impact of public financing.

The US$15 million grant from IDA* for the DRC Human Development Systems Strengthening Project      will strengthen capacity for planning and reporting for health and education services at the provincial and sub-provincial levels, including by carrying out GIS mapping of schools and health facilities. It will also support two rounds of Service Delivery Indicator surveys.

Recognizing the problems caused by unreliable supply of affordable essential medicines in health facilities and the sale of medical drugs by illegal vendors, the project will help build regulatory, procurement and logistics management capacity for essential medicines of standard quality. .

Increasing people’s access to improved social services and raising the level of human development by focusing on better governance and stronger health and education systems is a key priority for the government and an important element in our Country Assistance Strategy for the DRC,” said Eustache Ouayoro, World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Building the capacity to deliver good public services is critical for peace, stability, and poverty reduction in this country.”

The project will complement other IDA-financed projects, notably the Catalytic Project to Strengthen the National Statistical Institute that will co-finance the DRC’s national census, and the Public Financial Management and Accountability Project. It will also work in coordination with the large education and health projects financed by the World Bank, as well as the Global Partnership for Education’s DRC operations, which is supervised by the World Bank.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------* 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 82 poorest countries, 40 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.

 

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/455/AFR