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PRESS RELEASEJune 23, 2023

Togo’s New Flagship Social Safety Net Program Receives $100 Million in World Bank Support to Cover all Extreme Poor Households

WASHINGTON, DC, June 23, 2023 – The World Bank today approved $100 million in International Development Association (IDA)* financing to help Togo increase the coverage of its new flagship social safety net program and strengthen interoperable delivery systems.

The Togo Social Assistance Transformation for Resilience Program (ASTRE, Assistance sociale transformatrice pour la résilience) will expand coverage of cash transfers to all identified extreme poor households with a focus on women to boost their resilience and to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty through timely investments in human capital. By 2029, the Program aims to lift 1.24 million people out of poverty.

“The Program consolidates Togo’s global position as an African innovator, promoting economic transformation and inclusion through the design and delivery of social protection programs” said Fily Sissoko, World Bank Country Manager for Togo.  “It is the first Program for Results (PforR) in Togo, which speaks to the maturity of the government’s systems for implementation and monitoring of complex programs and policies”, he added.

A PforR utilizes a country’s own institutions and processes, and links disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of specific Program results.

ASTRE is an ambitious and transformative Program that will support the government in rolling out coverage of cash transfers to 100 percent of the extreme poor (1.8 million people), and in providing shock-response to up to 250,000 households in the face of vulnerability to conflict, climate, and health shocks, as well as access to accompanying health information and financial literacy measures.

“The Program aims at smoothing household consumption, diversifying livelihoods and providing a path to higher earnings and increased resilience to climate shocks”, said Christian Bodewig, World Bank, Africa Practice Manager for Social Protection and Jobs.

The ASTRE PforR will support the government in leveraging recent innovations in delivery systems by establishing an Interoperable Social Information System (SIIS) underpinned by robust data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity measures. First, it will build on inclusive and foundational unique identification of all persons in the territory. Second, universal outreach, intake, and registration of poor and vulnerable households in a dynamic social registry will support the assessment of needs and conditions for social safety net eligibility using up-to-date data provided through informed consent. Third, a multi-program/multi-provider payments platform will directly transfer benefits from the treasury to mobile money accounts of designated recipients. Fourth, it will help set up a Data Lab for evidence-based policymaking and robust monitoring and evaluation.

At the heart of the Program’s design is an emphasis on digital financial inclusion of women. Learning lessons from Togo’s Novissi pandemic emergency cash transfer program and the previous IDA-supported Togo Safety Nets and Basic Services project, incentives are provided to designate women as recipients of poor and vulnerable households. “The flagship social safety net program is expected to create pathways to close gender gaps in poverty reduction, financial inclusion, and mobile device ownership”, said Tina George, World Bank, Senior Social Protection Specialist, and Task Team Leader. ASTRE will enhance women’s decision-making power and strengthen their independence”.

*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides 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. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.



Christelle Eunice Selom Mensah


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