The new project will provide emergency assistance to the most vulnerable families, strengthen the national social protection system, help train and reintegrate the unemployed and returning labor migrants
WASHINGTON, March 24, 2023—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today $35 million in grant financing from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Social Protection Modernization and Economic Inclusion Project. The project aims to support the Government of Tajikistan in protecting poor and vulnerable households from social and economic shocks, promoting economic inclusion, and improving national social protection systems. An additional $2.5 million is provided by the Global Financing Facility (GFF) Trust Fund, bringing the total project financing to $37.5 million.
“The poorest and most vulnerable households in Tajikistan are always affected the worst by various economic shocks, such as price hikes or limited employment opportunities, thus becoming more exposed to higher poverty rates, poor nutrition and increased health risks,” said Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan. “The new project aims to provide much needed assistance to the most vulnerable population groups, while also laying a foundation for a stronger, more effective, and shock-responsive social protection system in Tajikistan for the future.”
The project has several key objectives: first, it will mitigate the impacts of the declining income and purchasing power of households by providing onetime cash assistance to about 110,000 most vulnerable families as part of the Targeted Social Assistance (TSA) program. Second, it will invest in strengthening labor market programs and service delivery systems to better support the unemployed, including returning labor migrants, by starting the foundations of a Labor Market Information System; offering training; and providing investment grants for income generating activity. Third, the project will invest in the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the national social protection systems to better protect the poorest and most vulnerable groups of population and have an effective mechanism for providing assistance during crisis through strengthening social protection information systems and piloting case management approaches for integrated social services to the vulnerable population groups. The project also includes a contingency component to provide emergency support to the vulnerable population in case of future economic shocks.
The Government of Tajikistan is in the process of modernizing its social protection system to better contribute to poverty reduction and mitigate the impacts of shocks. The TSA program is the Government’s flagship consolidated social assistance program. As of September 2022, the TSA supports over 220,000 households (over 1 million individuals), equivalent to about 15 percent of all households in the country. The government is also working on increasing the budget allocation to increase the effectiveness of its social assistance and labor market programs. Currently, it allocates annually an equivalent of less than 0.5 percent of the GDP for its social assistance programs (compared to the average of 1.75 percent in the Europe and Central Asian region). Labor market interventions are also underfunded with an allocation of less than 0.02 percent of the GDP (compared to the average of 0.28 percent in Europe and Central Asia).
The Social Protection Modernization and Economic Inclusion Project will be implemented by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population and Ministry of Labor, Migration and Employment of the Population between 2023-2027.
Currently, the World Bank is financing 25 projects in Tajikistan totaling $1.59 billion. Since 1996, the World Bank has provided over $2.72 billion in IDA grants, highly concessional credits, and trust funds for Tajikistan. The World Bank is committed to continuing its support as the country strives to improve lives and meet the aspirations of its young and growing population.