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World Bank Support Targets Drought Recovery in Djibouti

June 12, 2012

Four new projects to focus on social safety nets, access to water and electricity, education reform and rural development

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2012 – Four new World Bank projects will help Djibouti prepare for future emergencies and continue to build the foundations for inclusive and sustainable development. The Board of Directors of the World Bank today approved $19.2 million in funding for strengthening drought resilience, with expanded social safety nets and an improved power grid, and providing the citizens of Djibouti with the skills and opportunities they need to thrive and prosper, through rural development and educational reform.

Djibouti has been facing one of the worst droughts recorded in 60 years, having missed rainfalls for the last four consecutive years,” says David Craig, World Bank Country Director for Djibouti. “The drought has created urgent needs among the poor and vulnerable that, if not quickly addressed, could lead to the loss of human life, and the destruction of vital infrastructure.”

The US$5 million Social Safety Net grant will complement the emergency drought assistance programs launched in 2011 by supporting the scale up of social safety nets for poor and vulnerable households. The grant will provide short-term employment opportunities for men and women in community-based labor-intensive works. This will be combined with a nutrition program to leverage the additional income earned to improve the general health status of participating families.
The US$5.2 million in additional financing for the Power Access and Diversification project will strengthen the resilience of the country’s power supply to natural catastrophes through the creation of heavy fuel oil and diesel security stocks. The stocks will ensure that during times of severe natural disasters, such as the current drought, enough electricity can be generated to satisfy the increased demand resulting from the more intensive water pumping needed to reach the lowered water tables.

In view of the critical role education plays in development, the US$6 million Institutional Capacity and Management of the Education System project will support ongoing reforms to improve the quality of the education system and its relevance to the country’s development needs. “Our project is designed to help implement the ten-year National Education Strategy the government launched in 2010,” says Safaa El Tayeb El-Kogali, Senior Economist at the World Bank. “It will focus on improving the management of the educational system through institutional reorganization, the introduction of new management tools, and the training of teachers and staff.”
Along with education reform, rural development has been a primary focus of the World Bank’s long-term assistance strategy for Djibouti. The US$3 million in additional financing for the Rural Community Development and Water Mobilization grant will extend the reach of the ongoing project and provide technical assistance and support to a range of investments in community subprojects, with special emphasis on income-generating activities appropriate to the respective rural environments. In line with the overarching goal of helping Djibouti recover from the current crisis affecting the Horn of Africa, and to build the capacities to withstand future ones, the project will also focus on developing drought resilience in vulnerable and rural communities.

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