WASHINGTON D.C., June 30, 2016 – The World Bank (WB) Board of Executive Directors approved a US$600 million loan today to support the Argentine government’s expansion of its Universal Child Allowance Program (AUH, in Spanish) to include 1.5 million children and youth up to 18 years of age who, despite being eligible, are currently excluded.
“We are proud to resume and strengthen the Social Development Ministry’s ties with international organizations so that we can deploy social protection networks that will help us achieve our goal of zero poverty and make them sustainable over time. Investing in childhood is a global priority, and by way of this joint project we will be taking a crucial step towards making sure that all Argentine children have the same opportunity to grow and develop healthily, happily and accompanied by a State that takes care of them, becoming a bridge towards their inclusion,” said Carolina Stanley, Minister for Social Development, the executing agency for the project alongside the National Social Security Administration (ANSES).
The AUH program was launched in 2009 and is part of a broader family allowance system implemented by ANSES, which the World Bank has supported in recent years. Thanks to this benefit, parents of children under 18 who are unemployed or earn less than a minimum salary at an informal job receive a monthly payment equivalent to 80 percent of the full benefit. The remaining 20 percent is accumulated and paid once every year following a certification of the child’s school attendance and fulfilment of medical checkups, including completion of a vaccination calendar. Currently, 3.7 million children from over two million families benefit from the AUH.
“We are committed to helping Argentina strengthen its social security system, which is crucial to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable and to make progress in reducing poverty. Moreover, we are particularly pleased this support covers improvements being sought on transparency and governance issues,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The “Child and Adolescent Protection” project will help finance the benefits awarded by the AUH program, and has two main goals:
- Expand AUH program coverage. On the one hand, the project will support a search to complete the missing information on 1.5 million children, which currently prevents authorities from determining these young people’s eligibility for the AUH program. On the other hand, the project will work to include 537,000 children who are currently not receiving AUH benefits due to lack of evidence that they had fulfilled their of school and education responsibilities.
- Increase transparency in the implementation of social security policies by strengthening ANSES and the Ministry of Social Development.
The Civil Registries and Municipalities will help oversee implementation of the project, along with coordination support from ANSES and the Ministry of Social Development. Among the innovative activities that stand out are an active search for children that are currently excluded, as well as the recovery of those that lost the benefit due to lack of evidence indicating whether they had fulfilled their health and education co-responsibilities.
The project will be financed via a variable-margin US$600 million loan that includes a 32.5-year maturity period and a 7-year grace period.