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PRESS RELEASE June 4, 2021

DRC: The World Bank Approves $250 million to Expand Socioeconomic Opportunities and Address Persistent Needs of Vulnerable Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 4, 2021 – The World Bank Group today approved $250 million for the DRC Eastern Recovery Project (STEP 3) to help improve access to livelihoods and socioeconomic infrastructure in vulnerable communities in the country.

This new financing provides a unique opportunity to invest in human capital in an integrated manner, encompassing education, health, and social protection, to ensure the well-being of refugees and host communities. Complementing its successful social safety net model, the project will leverage its reputation, experience, and resources to address social infrastructure needs in vulnerable communities by increasing access to health and education services and enhancing policy dialogue on the integration of refugees into national systems,” explains Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe.

This financing from the International Development Association* (IDA) for STEP 3 will provide additional support to the government of the DRC to address the combined impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and a new influx of refugees. Financed through the IDA19 Window for Host Communities and Refugees (WHR), the project will be expanded to protect human capital in communities that are hosting large numbers of refugees, are recovering from the 2018-2020 Ebola crisis, and/or engaged in the post-conflict rebuilding of physical and human capital. The immediate focus is to strengthen the project in North Ubangui and expand it to South Ubangui, two extremely poor provinces where large numbers of refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) have recently arrived. These refugee-hosting areas also have pre-existing vulnerabilities compounded by the COVID-19 crisis.

STEP is the main sustained social protection instrument backed by the World Bank to respond to the overlapping crises in the country. Since its inception in 2014, the project has rehabilitated more than 870 community infrastructures, equipped 45,000 households with improved agropastoral technologies, and provided capacity building to nearly 5,000 members of local development committees. It has also provided work opportunities for vulnerable people by creating more than 1.3 million person-days of temporary employment.

* 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.



Franck Bitemo
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