WASHINGTON, September 30, 2010 – The World Bank’s Executive Board granted an additional financing of US$11.2 million IDA Credit through the Pilot Crisis Response Window (CRW) to the Mali Rural Community Development Project (Projet d’Appui aux Communautés Rurales - PACR). The original project is financed through an IDA Credit amounting to US$60 million that was approved by the Board on September 15, 2005 and became effective on March 24, 2006. It aims to “Improve the living conditions of project-supported rural communities in terms of (i) access to basic socio-economic services, and (ii) a sustainable increase in incomes, while promoting improved natural resources management practice. The project targets 54 communes (and 1,041 villages) in poor rural areas in the Tombouctou, Ségou, Mopti and Sikasso Regions. It provides financing to community-based associations and rural producer organizations for community empowerment and capacity building, socio-collective investments and productive investments.
“This additional financing to the PACR under the Pilot Crisis Response Window will give the Bank the opportunity to provide direct assistance to rural communities, the poorest groups of the society affected by the recent financial crisis and the lingering of the food and oil price crises. It will help social associations and productive organizations restore and strengthen their capacities in managing and delivering social and productive services to community and rural producer members,” said Olivier Durand, the Bank’s Task Team leader.
For the last five years, Mali has faced a succession of severe external shocks, including in particular the 2008 food price crisis, followed by the oil price crisis. The country is not facing the full impact of the global economic slowdown as a result of the 2009 financial crisis, but as a result of lower remittances and higher cost for imported products, rural households’ expenditures for tuition, school stationary, medicines and health mutual association subscription have seriously decreased.
Rising food and fuel prices are putting further pressure on poor families, thereby threatening the sustainability of the gains achieved in previous years. Agricultural input prices have also increased and rural producers are facing higher production costs.
Many households in the project targeted communes are relying on workers abroad and are affected by a reduced flow of remittances. There is a high level of uncertainty regarding the recovery of the European labor market and remittances may remain low for 2010 and probably 2011.
Within the 54 communes of project interventions, around 720 of rural schools, 45 rural community clinics and 30 rural health care associations will receive assistance. This additional financing will also help rural producer organizations restore and increase their stocks of agriculture and livestock inputs (fertilizers, vet medicines, etc.). It will help agricultural producers access improved seeds while receiving additional training on rural entrepreneurship and cooperative management.
“Producer organizations that will benefit from this additional assistance include around 450 producer organizations involved in vegetable perimeters, usually managed by women, rainfed production, agro-forestry, livestock productions and post-harvest processing,” added Olivier Durand.