WASHINGTON, June 21, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$21 million IDA* credit today to support South Sudan’s efforts to provide temporary work for poor people and build the foundation of a social protection system.
“As part of the huge task of nation building, South Sudan must deliver basic services like health and education, promote work opportunities and skills for jobs, and protect poor and vulnerable people,” said Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for South Sudan. “Experience elsewhere in Africa has shown that setting up a national social safety net can help countries move from fragility to stability and reduce extreme poverty.”
The Social Safety Net and Skills Development Project will offer temporary public works employment opportunities to cushion an estimated 21,500 households and skills development opportunities for an additional 3,500 households. It will cover selected counties in Jonglei, Warrap, and Eastern Equatoria states and in the capital city of Juba.
Importantly, the project will help create a targeting and beneficiary registration system and a payment transfer and monitoring system—essential building blocks of a social protection system that can be used to reach the poorest people. It will also help the new government to take policy decisions on social protection and coordinate these activities.
On the skills development front, the project will provide technical, entrepreneurial and life skills to youth aged 18 to 30, after assessing market demand in selected counties.
"This project addresses South Sudan’s immediate need to provide support to the poorest families during the agricultural lean season, while also setting up an efficient long-term system that can offer targeted support to people as they try to emerge from poverty in the face of economic uncertainty, food insecurity, and frequent climate-related threats,” said Endashaw Tadesse Gossa, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
The US$21 million project is a pilot scheme with the potential to leverage similar interventions by the government and development partners to include more areas and beneficiaries.
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 82 poorest countries, 40 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.