WASHINGTON, April 29, 2021– The World Bank approved $25 million in additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help Benin support micro and small enterprises impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
This additional financing, along with the reallocation of $10 million within the Cross-Border Tourism and Competitiveness Project, will generate $35 million to provide a lifeline to normally viable enterprises impacted by the crisis and, to the extent possible, protect existing jobs. Roughly 22,916 informal sector businesses, 11,655 formal microenterprises, and 994 small enterprises will receive grants to cover their short-term cash flow needs.
Atou Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Benin, notes that “micro and small enterprises, which already had limited access to formal financing, are finding it difficult to obtain the cash necessary to continue their activities during the COVID-19 crisis. Rapid financial assistance is needed to keep them afloat. This financing is also good news for enterprises in the tourism and related sectors, which have seen a steep decline in investment and growth owing to COVID-19.”
The Cross-Border Tourism and Competitiveness Project, approved in March 2016 for an initial $50 million, is financing major projects in the city of Ouidah such as rehabilitation of the Portuguese Fort, construction of the International Museum for the Remembrance of Slavery, upgrading of heritage sites and monuments along the slave route, and urban revitalization of the historical village of Zoungbodji and tourist routes.
The World Bank, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes US$12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments, and strengthen vaccination systems. The financing builds on the broader World Bank Group COVID-19 response, which is helping more than 100 countries strengthen health systems, support the poorest households, and create supportive conditions to maintain livelihoods and jobs for those hit hardest.
*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 increased steadily and averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61% going to Africa.