WASHINGTON, June 19, 2012 –The World Bank’s Board has approved an International Development Association (IDA)* grant of US$25 million for Guinea’s Productive Social Safety Net Project. Approximately 200,000 people will benefit from this project through temporary jobs in public works programs in urban areas and a pilot cash transfer program in rural areas.
Cash transfers from the safety net program will directly invest in helping malnourished children and primary school girls in rural parts of Boké, Kankan, and Labé where many children suffer from malnutrition and too few girls get to finish primary school.
The community infrastructure to be built or strengthened through the public works programs will serve about half a million people. A hundred micro-projects are expected to be completed in poor urban areas in all eight of Guinea’s administrative regions. These micro-projects will support local municipal plans by carrying out road rehabilitation and maintenance, street paving, and sanitary works.
“This is Guinea’s first attempt to design a comprehensive safety net to support vulnerable households that have struggled for a long time to manage risks that befall them like illness, hunger, or losing their jobs,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Country Director for Guinea. “This safety net program will help the poorest people earn an income during hard times and survive high food or fuel prices. In the long run, this helps build people’s economic and social wellbeing and escape poverty.”
This project complements wider government efforts to strengthen infrastructure and to generate employment for youth, already supported by the World Bank through the National Rural Infrastructure Program and the Village Communities Support Program. The project is also consistent with the Bank’s Africa strategy which seeks to promote competitiveness and employment, build people’s resilience and lessen their vulnerability to crises, and strengthen countries’ governance and public-sector capacity.
The Bank’s lending commitments for social protection in Africa have grown from an average of US$260 million a year during fiscal years 2001-05 to US$600 million a year in fiscal years 2006-2010. Commitments in the fiscal year 2012 stand at over US$700 million.
* 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 81 poorest countries, 39 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.