WASHINGTON, May 28, 2019 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a total financing of $502 million for the Multisectoral Nutrition and Health project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This funding comprises a $246 million credit and a $246 grant from the International Development Association (IDA)* and a $10 million grant from the Global Financing Facility (GFF)**.
Child malnutrition is an underlying cause of up to 45 percent of under five deaths and a major challenge in the DRC. The project will help reduce the prevalence of stunting in the country and provide community and primary health care and nutrition, and family planning services in the provinces of Kwilu, Kasai Central, Kasai and Sud Kivu.
“This operation, which targets regions where the needs are the greatest, is the largest and most ambitious World Bank-financed nutrition project to date. In a country like the DRC where 6 million children currently suffer from malnutrition, tackling stunting is a long-term commitment but also the best investment this country can make,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, the World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Multisectoral Nutrition and Health project is expected to benefit 1.5 million pregnant and lactating women and 2.5 million children over five years. Over 200,000 women of reproductive age will also be covered by family planning services. The project will support the government in establishing and scaling up a community health and nutrition platform to deliver an essential package of services, support community mobilization, and strengthen the demand for nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive services. It will also strengthen the supply of evidence-based public services.
“The project would lead to improvements in the nutrition status and physical and cognitive development in the children who benefit from it. In the long term, it would help increase productivity when children grow up, generate higher wages and incomes for individuals and households, and faster economic growth at the national level,” said Hadia Samaha and Jakub Jan Kakietek, World BankTask Team Leaders of the project.
The project is aligned with the Government’s priority of building a comprehensive nutrition agenda. Recognizing the impact of malnutrition on human development and economic growth, DRC identified the fight against malnutrition and, more broadly, investments in the early years as priorities in the national strategy for poverty reduction and economic development.
* 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 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.
**The Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) is a multi-stakeholder partnership that is helping countries tackle the greatest health and nutrition issues affecting women, children and adolescents. The GFF Trust Fund acts as a catalyst for financing, with countries using modest GFF Trust Fund grants to significantly increase their domestic resources alongside the World Bank’s IDA and IBRD financing, aligned external financing, and private sector resources. Each relatively small external investment is multiplied by countries’ own commitments—generating a large return on investment, ultimately saving and improving lives.