BRAZZAVILLE, December 7, 2016 – Today the Republic of Congo and the World Bank signed two financing agreements in Brazzaville for implementing the Urban Development and Poor Neighborhood Upgrading project (DURQuaP) in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire and the Education Sector Support Project (PRAASED). Both projects were approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors in February and April 2016.
The financing of DURQuaP for US$80 million, with an additional US$40 million from the Congolese Government in counterpart funding, will not only be used to improve access to basic urban services in selected impoverished neighborhoods, but will also strengthen the municipal management capacities of national and local authorities.
“This project is crucial at a time when the Republic of Congo is among the most urbanized countries in Africa, with over 64 percent of the Congolese population living in urban areas, more than half of whom live in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire,” said Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye, World Bank Country Director for the Republic of Congo.
The DURQuaP is thus extending the scope of intervention of the Water, Electricity, and Urban Development Project (PEEDU), implemented in 2010, by highlighting social integration and inclusion. ‘’This is the first step of a programmatic approach to restructure poor neighborhoods and to prevent the emergence of new ones”explained Dina Ranarifidy, Urban Development Specialist and Task Team Leader for the DURQuaP project at the World Bank.
A total of 65,000 residents in impoverished neighborhoods in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire will benefit from the DURQuaP project. The project will enable them to improve their living conditions and express their needs through a participatory approach and to strengthen local organization. Residents will also benefit from the creation of highly labor-intensive jobs for the construction phase and, to a certain degree, permanent jobs created as a result of local economic development. The two target cities will be provided with substantial resources that will enable them to schedule their investments more optimally and better plan their territories. The government authorities would also benefit from updated urban regulation documents to roll out an inclusive restructuring program at the national level. Finally, small- and medium-sized enterprises in the public works sector will be provided with training to enable them to respond to calls for tender in the infrastructure construction and maintenance sector.
For its part, the Education Sector Support Project (PRAASED) amounting to US$70 million split between the Congolese Government, which will be contributing US$40 million, and the World Bank, which will be providing US$30 million, aims to improve the level of knowledge acquired in primary and middle school, and bolster the efficiency of certain management systems.
“Children represent the future of a country. They are the teachers, engineers, doctors, and leaders of tomorrow. This is why education is the main driver of development and the most effective way of lifting people out of poverty. A quality education will enable young people to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to enter the workplace and become the driving force behind the economic development of their countries,” explained Waly Wane, Lead Education Specialist and TTL at the World Bank.
PRAASED will be of direct benefit to nearly 510,000 primary school children ─ 480,000 students at State-run schools and 30,000 students at church-run schools ─ and 110,000 middle school students, by providing them with textbooks, better trained teachers, new syllabuses, more appropriate teaching material and a better learning environment. This will result in better attendance and stronger learning outcomes.
Around 6,900 primary school teachers and 4,600 middle school teachers will receive initial and/or continuing training, and roughly 2,500 volunteer teachers will receive intensive training, through a newly developed information management system (biometric census). The project will also cover payment of volunteer teachers’ salaries, which up to now have been paid by the people living in rural areas themselves. Additionally, it will strengthen the key structures of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Literacy (Department of Studies and Planning, National Institute of Teaching Action and Research, Direction of Continuing Education) and those involved in teacher training (ENS and ENI).
The signature of these two financing agreements pave the way for the effective implementation of the two projects and attests to the joint commitment of the World Bank and the Republic of Congo to reduce poverty and promote equitable and sustainable development.