WASHINGTON, April 30, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a grant of US$70 million today to introduce Jigiséméjiri (Tree of Hope), an emergency social safety net that will provide 62,000 of Mali’s poorest households with monthly cash transfers of FCFA 10,000 (approximately 20 USD) for three years.
Most people in Mali are highly vulnerable, with over 40 percent of the population living in poverty. Since March 2012, the situation has deteriorated markedly due to political instability and conflict. Many households are experiencing hardship, and an entire generation could face acute physical and long-term losses from childhood malnutrition.
Tree of Hope will initially target vulnerable households in the south—in Sikasso, Segou, Mopti, Koulikoro and Kayes regions, and Bamako District—where many families which were living in poverty even before the crisis are now sheltering thousands of additional refugees who have fled the crisis in Northern Mali.
“As Mali struggles to rebuild after the worst political and security crisis since independence, the Tree of Hope social safety net will help ensure that vulnerable families have enough money and food to pull through during an exceptionally difficult period,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Country Director for Mali.
As it paves the way for a more comprehensive national social safety net in Mali that can be quickly and easily extended to reach more poor households as the need arises, the Tree of Hope project will be financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA)* for the next five years.
Diagana says that once the situation in northern Mali stabilizes more, Tree of Hope may be scaled up to cover more of the country, with additional funding from the government and development partners.
“Despite being an emergency project, the social safety net will support the government’s long-term poverty reduction strategy by helping vulnerable households that are in urgent need of assistance, while also laying the foundation of a national safety net system that can build resilience going forward,” said Setareh Razmara, one of the World Bank Task Team Leaders for the project. “Social safety nets are a powerful and affordable way to achieve rapid, historic gains against poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, as we have already seen in other countries in the region like Rwanda, Niger, Ghana, and Tanzania.”
The World Bank’s support to social protection in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown from an average of US$260 million a year during 2001-05 to US$600 million a year during 2006-2010. Total active World Bank commitments in social protection on the continent stand at over US$ 3 billion.
* 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.