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PRESS RELEASE March 31, 2021

New World Bank Funding to Protect the Lives of Djibouti’s Poor and Vulnerable and Strengthen Resilience to Economic Shocks

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2021 – The World Bank approved today US$15 million in additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s arm for the poorest countries, to support an expanded and enhanced social safety nets system and improve access to basic services and food security in Djibouti’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

The purpose of the additional financing is to restore the resources allocated to Djibouti’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in April 2020, and scale up the Integrated Cash Transfer and Human Capital Project, notably through the extension of cash transfers to about 2,500 households in urban areas and the financing of inclusion activities related to human capital development with a focus on the early years. The restored financing will permit continued support through 2023 for 5,000 households. The operation will also support microentrepreneurial and soft skills training to promote women’s economic empowerment in the targeted communities.

“Djibouti’s greatest asset is its population. The World Bank is committed to supporting Djibouti in its efforts to build human capital and protect the most vulnerable,” said Boubacar-Sid Barry, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti. “Cash transfers are a critical tool to help poor families afford some of life’s most basic needs. They will make it possible for children receive better health care and enjoy better nutrition.”

As with the parent project, the cash transfers financed by the new funds will be part of the National Program for Solidarity and Family (PNSF), the Government’s flagship safety nets program implemented by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Solidarity (MASS).

The operation supports Djibouti’s ambitious strategy to build a social protection system that integrates different forms of social assistance, including scaling up a poverty-targeted cash transfer program and promoting health and nutrition in the early years. It will also increase the capacity of poor households to respond to shocks and improve their access to sustainable livelihood opportunities.

“Responsive social protection systems are crucial to safeguarding the poor and vulnerable when crises hit,” said John Van Dyck, World Bank Task Team Leader for the program. “Building on the achievements of the Djibouti Integrated Cash Transfer and Human Capital Project, which enabled the rapid deployment of cash transfers to nearly 5,000 households in rural areas and of food vouchers for three months for over 27,500 households in urban areas to help them cope with shocks caused by COVID-19, this new financing will play a key role in supporting Djibouti’s efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on growth and poverty reduction.”

The World Bank’s portfolio in Djibouti consists of 14 IDA-funded projects totaling US$ 255 million. The portfolio is focused on education, health, social safety nets, energy, rural community development, urban poverty reduction, the modernization of public administration, governance, and private sector development with an emphasis on women and youth.


Isabelle Poupaert
Kadar Mouhoumed Omar