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World Bank Support to Build Safety Nets in Low-income Countries Reaches Record High

April 19, 2013

United Kingdom provides US$23 million in additional funding to help build safety net systems in the world’s poorest countries

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2013 – The World Bank announced today that financing for social safety net programs in low-income countries has reached a record high. Bank support for building safety nets from the International Development Association (IDA) – the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries -reached $769 million last fiscal year, an eight-fold increase over the past decade. Overall Bank financing for safety nets in both low- and middle-income countries totaled $6.7 billion over the past three years.

“Every year, safety nets in developing countries lift over 50 million people from absolute poverty,” said Keith Hansen, World Bank Acting Vice President, Human Development Network.  “The Bank is committed to helping countries build effective and affordable safety net systems needed to end poverty, build shared prosperity, and protect access to health, education, and other basic social services.”

The Bank-managed Rapid Social Response (RSR) Program has been supporting efforts in low-income countries to construct and assemble critical building blocks for safety nets and related social protection systems, leading to enhanced country capacity, effectiveness, and efficiency in protecting their people from poverty and economic shocks.  Since the creation of the RSR in 2009, the Russian Federation, Norway, the United Kingdom (UK), Australia and Sweden have contributed a total of more than US$70 million to support 83 projects in 42 countries that together have an estimated 1.6 billion poor and vulnerable people.  The RSR has played a catalytic role in 15 of 22 IDA-eligible countries that have started plans for comprehensive safety nets. Today the UK announced an additional £15 million (US$23 million equivalent) in support of the RSR.

What happens across the world matters more than ever for the UK, and our support for the World Bank’s RSR Fund means we are investing in jobs, opportunities, and peace. It will help governments in developing countries start to develop the strong economies and strong societies of the future,” said Justine Greening, UK Secretary of State for International Development.

At least 60 percent of people in developing countries – and nearly 80 percent in the poorest countries - currently lack effective social safety net coverage to protect them against sudden shocks and chronic poverty.


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