In June 2020, the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved the USD 800 million Emergency Equity and System Strengthening in Education Project (EESSE), to be implemented over a period of four years. The project supports the Government of DRC’s free primary education program and aims to lower the school fee burden on households, increase access to primary schooling in the provinces of North-Kivu, Sud-Kivu, Ituri, Lomami, Kasai, Kasai-Central, Kasai-Oriental, Kwilu, Kinshasa and Kongo-Central, and strengthen core governance systems in the education sector. A first disbursement of USD 100 million was planned for December 2020, upon achievement of agreed results reported by the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education (MEPST) to the World Bank.
The World Bank welcomes the authorities’ commitment, expressed at the highest level of government, to promote transparency in the management of public finances. In this regard, we note the investigation undertaken by the Inspector General of Finances (IGF) into the education sector, which has revealed a number of shortcomings and alleged cases of fraud and corruption in connection with the use of public funds in the sector, as well as weaknesses in internal controls. In light of these findings, the disbursement scheduled for December is currently on hold, while the World Bank similarly exercises its own fiduciary responsibility.
In executing its fiduciary responsibility as financier of the EESSE project, the World Bank is working closely with the Congolese authorities to gather further information regarding the findings of the IGF investigation, including any proposed corrective actions. The World Bank confirms its strong commitment and support to ongoing governance reforms in the education sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including in the strengthening of accountability mechanisms.