WASHINGTON, February 6, 2023—The World Bank approved a $250 million credit to support the Government of Madagascar to expand safety net services to more extremely poor households to, boost the social protection system, and promote greater resilience to shocks. This new project will be implemented over a period of four years and will target extremely poor households throughout all of the 23 regions of Madagascar. In total, at least 3 million people, or 13%of extremely poor households will benefit from the project.
The Madagascar Safety Nets and Resilience project will ensure continuity of the core and crisis response safety net programs that reach poor and vulnerable households and provide resources for a modest scale-up in the programs’ coverage, including human development cash transfers, productive cash-for-work activities, and rapid and flexible responses to natural, pandemic, or economic shocks and crises based on declarations of need from national authorities.
“Madagascar has faced an unrelenting series of economic, climate, and health shocks in recent years that have dealt severe setbacks to economic growth and poverty reduction. Social safety nets have always been at the forefront to help the most vulnerable people cope with those shocks and become more resilient,” said Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira, World Bank Country Manager for Madagascar. “We are very pleased to support a scale up of Madagascar’s social protection programs, allowing for anationwide reach supported by a national social registry that other sectors will use to target the most vulnerable.”
Developing a national social registry used by multiple sectors is among the many innovationsof this project With support from the World Bank, the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Promotion of Women is currently designing a pilot social registry which will be scaled up under the project. This social registry will enable the government to coordinate social programs across sectors, implementation actors, and funding sources, while providing programs with high quality targeting.
With World Bank support, the coverage of safety nets has been growing steadily in recent years, but coverage still remains low relative to the Sub-Saharan Africa average. The project will enable increased coverage of non-emergency safety net programs while also allowing for a scale up of safety nets temporarily in the event of a crisis. It builds on evidence generated in Madagascar in recent years about the positive impact of safety nets on reducing extreme poverty and boosting human capital through improved education and nutrition outcomes for children of beneficiary households.
“This project will build on the achievements of the Madagascar Social Safety Net Project (SSNP) which has helped lay the foundations of the country’s social protection system,” said John Van Dyck, Senior Social Protection Specialist, Team Leader. “Compared to the SSNP, it will increase the focus on household resilience and help beneficiaries to reduce their need for support through training and microentrepreneurial support to produce lasting improvements in their livelihoods.”
Women’s empowerment is a major focus of the project and one of the main objectives of the accompanying measures delivered to beneficiaries. “To address the gender gaps in education, health, and economic inclusion, the project will prioritize women as the main recipients of cash transfers,” emphasized Julia Rachel Ravelosoa, Senior Social Protection Economist. “It will also encourage girls’ school attendance, promote access to reproductive and healthcare services, and encourage women’s participation in a package of accompanying measures including financial and economic inclusion, women’s leadership and participation in decision making.”