WASHINGTON, December 10, 2020 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved today a $100 million IDA* grant to improve access to basic infrastructure and livelihood opportunities and strengthen local governance in southern Madagascar, with a primary focus on youth and women. The project, also referred as MIONJO (“Rise Up” in the dialect of southern Madagascar), will cover all the three regions of southern Madagascar, namely Anosy, Androy, and Atsimo-Andrefana.
"I made the fight against famine and malnutrition in southern Madagascar a State priority. This is a fight that I am leading at the same time with the mobilization of the entire Malagasy government and the support of various international and national partners, whom I thank warmly. For too long, the State has been absent from this southern region, and the population has been left behind and put aside. It is now time for this to change, and the objective we have set ourselves is the total and complete eradication of the drought-induced famine throughout Madagascar through the implementation of emergency medico-social solutions but also and above all economic solutions in the long term," said Andry Rajoelina, President of the Republic of Madagascar.
“Every year, Southern Madagascar suffers severe drought, leading to acute food shortage. This year, nearly 1.3 million people are affected, and their vulnerabilities further exacerbated by the COVID 19 crisis. This project aims at breaking this vicious circle and giving opportunities to the populations of the South to sustainably improve their livelihoods. Addressing the chronic lack of water and the drivers of food insecurity is at the core of this long-term engagement. We see this as a change of paradigm that lays a solid foundation for preventing famine and other natural shocks that made Southern Madagascar one of the poorest regions of the country,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa.
The proposed Series of Projects (SOP) will support an integrated approach for sustainable development while supporting the rehabilitation of key water infrastructure and building on and reinforcing the socio-economic resilience of communities. The approved project comprises the first phase of the SOP, to be implemented for the following four years in half of the districts in the three regions of the south, using an adaptive approach to pilot and learn with the expectation of scaling the project up to the remaining districts in the second phase. The first phase will follow a community-led approach to strengthen local government, re-build the social contract, strengthen citizen engagement, finance key communal and inter-communal infrastructure for basic services, and support livelihood grants for community-based organizations. Selected key structural water infrastructures for drinking and irrigation will be rehabilitated to address issues of chronic drought and to support livelihoods activities. MIONJO will identify and prioritize investments with a specific focus on women, female-headed households, youth, and groups that are disproportionately affected by increased insecurity and climate shocks.
Southern Madagascar has the highest concentration of poverty with an estimated 91 percent of the population living below the poverty line where female-headed households and families with more children are associated with higher poverty levels. Women, in particular, face multi-faceted disadvantages in accessing and retaining opportunities. Livelihoods are limited primarily to subsistence farming and fishing, which are vulnerable to repeated natural shocks, including famine and drought. Persistent water scarcity, lack of access to water and basic infrastructure, and limited adaptability of agriculture to climate shocks are constraints to resilient livelihoods that will require specific attention in the context of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
This project is listed as a recovery project for southern Madagascar under the retroactive Finance Law of the country and is also closely aligned with the World Bank Group’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Approach Paper which focuses on protecting the poor and vulnerable though building equity and inclusion.
* 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 76 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.