WASHINGTON, December 11, 2015—The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved an International Development Association* (IDA) financing of US$50 million to support communities affected by forced displacement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The support is an additional financing to the Eastern Recovery Project to sharpen its focus on Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), refugees, returnees and their host communities, and extend geographic coverage to the new Tanganyika province, which has recently witnessed an increase in forced displacements due to conflict, and the new Tshopo Province. Of the US$50 million, US$16 million will be given as a grant and US$34 million as a credit.
“The challenge for DRC is how to define and implement longer-term support for the displaced in a context of evolving security and humanitarian needs, and how to achieve viable and sustainable return and re-integration processes for those IDPs and refugees who are able to go home,” said Moustapha Ndiaye, World Bank Country Director for the DRC.
The additional financing will assist returnees and host populations to rebuild socio-economic infrastructure damaged during conflict and also assist IDPs who decide to remain in their area of displacement and their hosts by expanding socio-economic infrastructure that has become overburdened. It will also provide short-term and longer-term livelihoods opportunities to displaced populations and host communities both in areas of displacement and return.
“The project will strengthen training at the community level on conflict prevention and management to improve the likelihood of peaceful reintegration of returning community members and minimize tensions between IDPs and their host communities,” says Maurizia Tovo, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
The new funds are part of the Displaced Persons and Border Communities Program for the Great Lakes Region, which aims at reducing poverty and improve the integration and socio-economic development prospects of those affected by forced displacement, including the local communities that host the displaced. This US$100 million regional program includes also Tanzania and Zambia and it is part of the Great Lakes Region Initiative of the World Bank, a US$1 billion intervention announced by World Bank Group President Jim Kim in the wake of his joint visit with UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon to the region in May 2013.
“The world is faced with the challenge of supporting an ever-increasing number of refugees and IDPs. Through our efforts we seek to promote self-reliance and integration for those affected by forced displacement in Africa. The Great Lakes program has important global implications and lessons that can inform the right responses,” says Joanna de Berry, World Bank Task Team Leader for the overall regional program.
Conflict-induced displacement in DRC has occurred since 1992, originating almost entirely in the eastern provinces. The country now hosts one of the largest IDP populations in the world. As of December 2014, there were an estimated 2.8 million IDPs, up by 40,000 over the previous quarter. Despite this, spontaneous IDP and refugee returns are happening all the time; in the last quarter of 2014 close to 300,000 IDPs returned to their place of origin, bringing the total number of returnees to 1.8 million. But return is not without its problems. The displaced tend to go back to areas where land is limited and may find their old plots occupied, with land titles sometimes abusively ceded in their absence. In addition, many displaced groups are from communities that are seen as ‘foreign’ by some of the other groups, leading to a sensitive situation.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people, the majority of whom live on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.