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São Tomé and Príncipe: World Bank Injects $18 Million to Strengthen Social Protection and Reduce Impact of COVID-19 on the Poor

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2022—The World Bank Board approved a grant of $18 million for the Social Protection COVID-19 Response and Recovery Project in São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) geared toward strengthening the social protection system and expanding the coverage of programs.

While STP has made significant progress in the implementation of social protection programs in recent years, mainly through the implementation of the Vulnerable Families Program (VFP), these systems are still at an early stage of development. While the Government of STP was able to quickly adapt its social protection programs to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crises on the most vulnerable households, these programs need to be strengthened and scaled up in order to respond to natural and economic shocks in the medium/long term.

Due to its geographical location and small size, STP is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and rising sea levels. The island is ranked 127 out 182 countries in terms of vulnerability to climate change, as per the Global Adaptation country index in 2019. This project will allow STP to enhance their resilience against climate change by expanding critical social protection programs across the nation to include the six country districts and the autonomous region of Príncipe (RAP), giving priority to areas with high poverty rates and high exposure to climate change shocks.

“Global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the conflict in Ukraine, will continue to impact STP’s poor population for years to come. This project reaffirms the World Bank's commitment to work with the Government of STP to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and support policies that minimize the impact of natural and economic shocks on people,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for São Tomé and Príncipe.

The project will benefit 4,500 poor households through cash transfers over a period of five years and will provide technical assistance to build the capacity of the Ministry of Labor, Solidarity, Family and Professional Training for the implementation of social protection programs. In addition, in the first year, the project will provide cash transfer to support directly and indirectly 16,000 households affected by COVID-19 to ensure food security and support families’ basic needs.



Wilson P. M. Piassa
244 923754729
Daniella Van Leggelo Padilla


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