- Ethiopia has been approved to receive a grant from the World Bank to help the country meet its food security challenges.
The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank yesterday approved a $350 million grant and a $130 million credit from the International Development Association to Ethiopia to support an innovative programme that is keeping millions of families out of extreme poverty and helping them to achieve food security.
This financing is for the third phase of the government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) which provides transfers to 7.6 million rural citizens in 292 woredas in Afar, Amhara, Dire Dawa, Harare, Oromiya, Somali, Southern Nations and Nationalities (SNNP) and Tigray Regions.
Families participating in the Safety Net Programme are the poorest and most food insecure in their communities. They earn a monthly transfer by working on public works projects for six months each year. For those participants who are physically unable to work, the programme provides direct grants. Transfers are predictable and timely, thereby enabling families to plan ahead to meet their food needs and preventing the sale of productive assets.
According to the World Bank, the PSNP goes beyond providing safety nets; it aims to address the underlying causes of food insecurity. Planned within an integrated watershed management framework, the public works under PSNP are designed to reverse a long history of environmental degradation and increased vulnerability to adverse weather. Since 2008, the programme became more flexible, able to scale-up the coverage, level, and duration of support to households in response to shocks in PSNP areas.
Recent reviews demonstrate that the programme has registered some impressive results since its launch in 2005. Household food security has improved, especially when transfers are predictable and delivered on time. PSNP households reported a smaller food gap and consumed more calories (19.2%) in 2008 as compared with 2006.
Households participating in the PSNP have also invested in assets and have increased their use of education and health services. Growth in livestock holdings was 28.1 percent faster among PSNP households than non-participants. An estimated 73 percent of PSNP participants reported increased use of health facilities compared to the previous year, and the majority attributed this to the Safety Net Programme.
The World Bank also says there is strong evidence that the combination of the PSNP and investments in productive assets can improve agricultural productivity, saying for instance, Maize yields increased by 38 percent among households receiving both PSNP transfers and investments through the Government’s Food Security Programme (FSP). Households that received FSP investments alone enjoyed only marginal increases in productivity, it also added.
But more needs to be done. The third phase of the PSNP will strengthen implementation to maximise the impact of the programme and will institutionalise the risk financing component of the PSNP, which allows the Programme to scale up in response to shocks, the Bank said in a statement.
The World Bank will also provide financing to support the government’s Household Asset Building Program (HABP), which is designed to assist food insecure households in PSNP woredas to transform their productive systems by diversifying income sources, improving productivity and increasing productive assets. The support to the HABP aims to make the programme more efficient and effective, thereby maximising the combined impact of the HABP and PSNP so that together they can support sustained graduation from food insecurity for the poorest households.
“Food aid to Ethiopia in the past was often too little, too late, which meant families were often forced to sell livestock, tools or other productive assets to meet their daily needs,” said William Wiseman, the projects’ task team leader. “These programmes are different because they provide support that families can count on - and the infrastructure, credit, and training that they need for long-term food security.”
The Safety Net Programme is supported by a consortium of donors, namely, the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States, as well as by the European Union and the World Food Programme.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.