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PRESS RELEASE May 21, 2020

World Bank Group Provides Emergency Support to Help Ethiopia Manage the Threat Posed by the Desert Locust

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2020 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a financing of $63 million ($31.5 million grant and $31.5 million credit) from the International Development Association* (IDA) to help Ethiopia prevent and respond to the threat to livelihoods posed by the desert locust outbreak and to strengthen its national and regional systems for preparedness.

The current locust invasion, which is the worst in decades may undermine development gains and threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions of Ethiopians. Between January and March 2020 alone, the invasion affected over 156 woredas (districts) across 6 Regional States. The swarms, which have devastated nearly 1.5 million hectares of land, have so far cost Ethiopia an estimated $43.2 million due to loss of staple crops and livestock.

“If not managed efficiently, desert locusts can have a dire impact on a country like Ethiopia where millions rely on agricultural livelihoods in locust-infested areas. This latest program will provide fast support to help ensure the livelihood of the most vulnerable are protected and adequate systems are put in place to manage further outbreaks,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Sudan.

The Emergency Locust Response Program will help Ethiopia: (a) monitor and manage locust population growth and curb the spread of swarms while mitigating the risks associated with locust management measures; (b) protect livelihoods of locust-affected households to prevent asset loss, and return them to productivity; and (c) prevent future locust upsurges by strengthening capacity for surveillance and locust management operations to facilitate early warning and early response.

“The Government of Ethiopia has been working hard to manage the infestation and minimize damages. However, the country faces capacity constraints and will need to enhance surveillance and locust management measures in order to keep pace with the rapidly changing situations with increased rates of invading swarms,” said Vikas Choudhary, World Bank task Team Leader.

World Bank Group Locust Response:

The World Bank Group is mobilizing a $500 million program of emergency financing, complemented by policy advice and technical assistance, to support countries affected by the locust outbreak. The program seeks to help households and communities safeguard their livelihoods and cope with the economic impacts of locust damage on crops, livestock, and related assets, as well as strengthen national systems for preparedness.

* 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 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.



Addis Ababa
Gelila Woodeneh
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