World Bank pledges $129 million to boost economy

(Country Director of World Bank Firas Raad(L) Social Protection Specialist, Mukulish Arafat (R) photo: supplied by Gai Akech)

By Akol Madut Ngong.

The World Bank’s Executive Board of Directors has approved $ 129 million in International Development Association Associates (IDA) grant to finance and expand access to economic and livelihoods opportunity for the most vulnerable households in South Sudan to strengthen the effectiveness of the national safety net system.

Addressed the press on Friday, the country Director of world Bank, Firas Raad said that World Bank bord of director, the grant will finance South Sudan Productive Safety Net for socioeconomic Opportunities Project (SNSOP) which is a unique four-year operation that builds on the experiences of prior projects that help lay the foundational building blocks of safety net system in the young nation.

The grant includes 25 USD million from the IDA19 window for Host communities and refugees (WHR), and $ 30 million from the Crisis Response Window (CRM).

Mr. Raad said that the recent external and economic shocks that include severe flooding, COVID-19, conflict, and microeconomic instability have disproportionately impacted vulnerable households and deepened existing vulnerability in South Sudan.

“Enhancing social and economic opportunities for poor and vulnerable households will contribute to achieving longer term development outcomes and build their resilience to climate impacts and other shocks It will also make them potential drivers of economic growth, stability, and national transformation in South Sudan,” the World Bank Country Manager in the country said.   

He stated that the SNSOP will implemented in 15 out of 19 counties across the country, adding that the project will not only respond to escalating food insecurity, but also lead to productive inclusion through human capital accumulation among the poor and vulnerable population.

Similarly, Mr. Raad further said the project will help in smoothing consumption and increasing investments in child nutrition and development through the complementary social measures and behaviour change communication, with a strong emphasis on gender and climate change adoption.

Besides, the World Bank boss said that the SNSOP is aligned with the world bank group country engagement (CEN) for the young nation FY 2021 – 2023, as it promotes resilience and livelihood opportunities for those confronted with multiple shocks by providing cash transfer and income generating opportunities, and build capacity on gender in several key ministries.  

“The world bank is pleased to continue strengthening social protection mechanism in South Sudan, this new financing will help the government to gradually establish a nationally owned safety net programme. It will also help maintain a predictable and reliable national safety net system in the country and increase citizen confidence in national institutions,” Raad said.

In addition, the World Bank Country Director stated that about 70% percent of population in the country is under 30 years of age which represent one of the largest youth bulges in the world.

He noted that youth in the country are facing severe livelihood challenges due to the limited economic opportunities.

He further said that the SNSOP will implement activities to help enhance access to economic opportunities by poor vulnerable youth, and support male youths to address the challenges of youth idleness and empower female youth to gain equal economic opportunities.

Meanwhile, the World Bank’s Social Protection Specialist Mr. Mukulish Arafat said they will select the most vulnerable households, and when the beneficiaries are selected, they need to engaged in agriculture productivity.

He reiterated that the projects will provide youths with hand tools and facilitate their work for three to four hours, and women for three.

He said at the end of 15-day work in a month then they are due in the monthly bases are giving to them, this is one bared households beneficiary.

 “This support goes the equal paid the same amounts,” in this specific incorporation, the innovation and confidence specifically, this will aim to support the youth and skill up working scheme, a source of good impact from the current operation in three major counties including juba, “we are targeting for this pilot phase provided occasional entrepreneurship and provided grant to start business and also let to financial management provider,” Arafat said.

“The beneficiaries are selected and roll into by logically (IM) information management system of the projects, enroll in the system and upon working, the attended stick and reflect into the system and the instruction payment are given to the bank than the bank agree on the exchange rate and transfer to each beneficiary,” he added.

He said that the operation will move to 15 counties, with 10 will be an agricultural operation plus additional five counties. He added that two locations have been selected, based on the context they are in.

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