Buenos Aires, March 10th, 2011 – The World Bank (WB) Board of Directors approved a US$480 million loan today to expand the coverage of two key cash transfer programs for the unemployed and families with children under 18 years of age in Argentina.
It consists of an additional financing from the Basic Protection Project, approved by the Bank in 2009, which foresees continued support for the Training and Employment Insurance (Seguro de Capacitación y Empleo, SCE) and Family Allowances programs, now including the Universal Child Allowance (Asignación Universal por Hijo). Moreover, it will provide technical assistance to continue its successful implementation and undertake an effective monitoring system.
The Training and Employment Insurance is a program led by the Labor Ministry which provides a basic stipend and support for unemployed workers, in order to update their skill set and facilitate job placement. In the last two years, almost 20 percent of workers participating in the SCE found a formal job and it is expected that close to 20,000 unemployed workers will participate in the program during 2011.
In 2009, Argentina introduced the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) as part of the Family Allowances system, whereby parents of children under 18 years of age, either unemployed or with informal jobs, receive a monthly income of US$55. By September 2010, almost 3.4 million children were receiving the allowance. The project approved today supports efforts made by the Social Security Administration (ANSES) to expand the AUH’s coverage to include potential beneficiaries that, even while eligible, have not yet registered, while at the same time increasing public access to program-related information.
“The social and economic impact of these programs is quite substantial and their expansion will allow us to move forward toward greater levels of coverage, resulting in a significant reduction of poverty and extreme poverty in Argentina and greater job placement among the most vulnerable,” said Penelope J. Brook, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The project consists of three specific components:
1. Financing for Training and Employment Insurance: The project supports an expansion of coverage to reach some 160,000 unemployed workers by the end of 2012, financing the monetary benefits, which include a monthly payment of $225 pesos as well as travel allowances and other incentives.
2. Financing for Family Allowances: The project supports an expansion of coverage for child allowances (including the AUH). It is expected that the system will have registered close to 450,000 additional children by the end of 2012.
3. Technical assistance: It will work with the Labor Ministry and ANSES to improve the implementation and monitoring of these programs. It also foresees the execution of the Second National Survey on Social Security and Social Protection, the creation of an alternative data center to guarantee the efficient and secure management of information related to SCE beneficiaries, and the design of a registration process to identify and register potential beneficiaries into the Universal Child Allowance program.
The Project will be financed by a mixed-margin, US$480 million IBRD loan with a 26-year maturity period.