World Bank Approves $575m Scale Up Support for Nigeria’s North East

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The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved 575 million dollars additional financing in International Development Association (IDA) credit to scale up its support to Nigeria’s North-East.

The information is contained in a statement obtained from World Bank’s website on Thursday in Abuja.

It stated that the support fund would help to rebuild livelihoods in the region, which is home to 1.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

It noted that the Boko Haram insurgency had taken a toll on the six northeast states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe “and the states cannot meet the most pressing needs of the millions of people affected by the ongoing conflict.’’

The World Bank estimated that some 15 million people had been affected by the crisis.

According to it, a recent North-East Nigeria Recovery and Peace Building Assessment produced by Federal Government with the support of World Bank, the European Union (EU) and the UN, quantified the damages caused by the crisis.

The assessment, it added, also identified three strategic areas of intervention to restore stability in the region.

The strategic areas are promoting peace and social cohesion, rebuilding infrastructure and social services and creating conditions for economic recovery.

The bank stated that Rachid Benmessaoud, its Country Director for Nigeria, had said that the needs of the region were staggering.

The bank statement quoted Benmessaoud as saying “millions of people have lost their livelihoods, schools and health facilities have been destroyed and the psychosocial impact of the crisis must also be addressed.

“To help create economic opportunities for the most vulnerable, we have identified a set of initiatives that will have a quick and tangible impact on the population in four priority areas: agriculture, education, health and social protection.’’

The statement indicated that the World Bank support would be in four sectors.

In the social protection sector, 75 million dollars would be for Nigeria’s Community and Social Development Project to provide immediate basic social infrastructure, as well as psychosocial support to communities most affected by displacement.

A financing of 100 million dollars would be for Youth Employment and Social Support Operation to provide youth, women and unemployed, especially IDPs, returnees and persons with disabilities resulting from the crisis, with labour-intensive work and skills development opportunities.

Cash transfers would also be provided to displaced families and individuals as they return voluntarily and safely to and settle in their old or new communities.

In the agriculture sector, there would be 50 million dollars for the Third Fadama Development Project to address the emergency needs of farmers by improving access to irrigation and drainage services.

It would also focus on delivery of agriculture inputs and contribute to the restoration of livelihoods in conflict-affected households with special focus on women and youths.

In the education sector, 100 million dollars would be allocated to the State Education Programme Investment Project to support the return to teaching and learning through financial incentives for teachers who have completed psycho-social training.

It would also provide grants to schools to address their needs as identified by school-based management committees.

In the health sector, a financing of 125 million dollars and a Global Financing Facility (GFF) trust fund grant of 20 million dollars to the National State Health Investment Project would help to immediately re-establish health services.

This is with focus on maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, psycho-social support and mental health.

In communities where health facilities have been destroyed, mobile clinics will be deployed to provide care, while additional financing of 125 million dollars is for Polio Eradication Support Project to prevent any disruption in routine immunisation.

The statement noted that the World Bank’s IDA, established in 1960, had been helping the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty and improve poor people’s lives.

It is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa.

It stated that the GFF was a multi-stakeholder partnership that supports country-led efforts to improve the health of women, children and adolescents by acting as innovative financing pathfinder.

The GFF Trust Fund is a multi-donor trust fund that leverages additional financing for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health by linking grant funding to IDA financing, the statement added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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