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PRESS RELEASE December 16, 2021

Benin: $100 million to Reinforce Women's Empowerment, Access to Electricity and Fiscal Management

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2021 – The World Bank approved today $100 million in International Development Association (IDA)* funding to support the Government of Benin to empower women and girls, expand access to reliable and sustainable energy, and improve fiscal and debt management.

This is the first development policy operation to fund reforms aiming at significantly improving the empowerment of women and girls in the medium term. These reforms strengthen referral services for women who are survivors of discrimination or violence, improve the judicial treatment of gender-based violence and promote greater access to sexual and reproductive health services. The program also supports actions to promote Benin's gradual transition to renewable energy sources and access to electricity in rural areas. It will also allow for measures to increase domestic revenue mobilization and strengthen debt management capacity.

"This support will help Benin empower women and girls by creating an institutional framework to promote and protect women's rights and their active, safe and productive participation in social, economic and political life," said Atou Seck, Country Manager for Benin. "It will also put in place the right reforms and tools to prevent gender-based violence and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health."

"The Government of Benin is resolutely committed to promoting women's rights and empowerment. Women are at the heart of economic and social life and the strengthening of public policies towards women and girls is an important lever for inclusive growth," said Romuald Wadagni, Minister of State, Minister of Economy and Finance. "This support will also make it possible to consolidate the efforts of the Government of Benin to provide quality electricity accessible to all but also to mobilize more internal resources to finance the development of Benin."

The new financing has been designed in line with the Beninese government's Action Plan, and especially the National Development Plan (2020-2025), which has a pillar focused on the reduction of fertility to take advantage of the demographic dividend. It is also part of the Bank's partnership with Benin, whose areas of intervention are: the structural transformation of the economy for competitiveness and productivity, the strengthening of human capital and support for resilience and the reduction of vulnerability to climate change.

*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.



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