WASHINGTON, October 14, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$18 million International Development Association (IDA)* grant to Chad to improve the lives of refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) who fled seeking refuge from the war. World Bank assistance will help make food more accessible and will enhance the agriculture production capacity of those affected by the conflict in the CAR.
“As the insecurity in the CAR continues with no end in sight, the number of returnees/refugees in Chad is projected to climb to 150,000 by December 2014. Most of these people are expected to remain for a long time as the crisis does not seem to be slowing down. This situation could increase food prices in some areas that already face food insecurity and malnutrition from severe drought. It could also test the resilience of the host communities that have tirelessly provided assistance to the returnees,” said Paul Noumba Um, World Bank Country Director for Chad. “The lack of food security for the CAR refugees in addition to the preliminary assessments in Chad, show that immediate food aid and nutrition interventions are necessary to ensure human capital is not lost.”
The project will help refugees/returnees coming from the CAR and families in Chad most affected by the crisis and that face the threat of malnutrition. The project will provide food aid to roughly 31,200 persons over a 12-month period and nutrition efforts will help almost 2,520 infants (6 to 23 months). It will also promote agricultural production for about 15,000 households (76,500 persons) this includes about 7,500 female lead families. The project will involve conflict-prevention activities which will bring together 1,000 individuals, NGOs, and 75 decentralized agents from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment and the Ministry of Livestock and Water.
“The project will help finance access to food through the World Food Programme (WFP), that will provide the affected communities with vouchers to buy food on the local market, to obtain direct food transfers during the pre-harvest season, and nourishment for infants to prevent the nutritional situation from getting worse,” says Nicaise Ehoue, World Bank Task Team Leader. “It will help restore the affected communities’ agricultural and livestock production, especially during a time when natural resources are being stretched.”
The government has limited capacity to react quickly in emergency situations so the project will be implemented by the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in their role as service providers. The two agencies and the World Bank have similar mandates, capacities, and respective comparative advantages making them a good choice to carry out the project. The two agencies also have a track record of successfully delivering services in difficult environments.
The state services as well as NGOs will participate in project implementation activities.
Chad is vulnerable to the impact of crises in neighboring countries due to where it is located—the Darfur conflict that erupted in 2003 and the 2012 military coup d’état in the Central African Republic have already pushed 450,000 refugees into the eastern and southern parts of Chad, exerting pressure on the limited resources of the local population already facing weak conditions. This emergency operation is an appropriate tool to provide assistance to the most vulnerable individuals and who have been hit hardest from the crisis. It will also contribute to the initial effort to tackle the refugee issue in Chad.