World Bank Approves 575 Million USD Credit For Nigeria’s Troubled Northeast

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

A posting on the World Bank website Thursday said the support fund from the IDA, an affiliate of the World Bank Group which grants concessional loans to developing countries, would help to rebuild livelihoods in the region, which is home to 1.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), victims of an insurgency.

It noted that the insurgency by the Boko Haram Islamist militants had taken a toll on the six northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe and that “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. It said a recent North East Nigeria Recovery and Peace Building Assessment produced by Nigerian 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. These 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 that “millions of people have lost their livelihoods, (and) schools and health facilities have been destroyed and the psycho-social 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,” he added.

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

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

A financing of US$100 million 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 US$50 million 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, US$100 million 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 US$125 million and a Global Financing Facility (GFF) trust fund grant of US$20 million to the National State Health Investment Project would help to immediately re-establish health services, 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 US$125 million 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.

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