FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/11/2019
The Gambia’s US$ 31 million Social Safety Net Project Signing
Banjul, The Gambia – June 11, 2019: The Gambia is set to establish a social protection system that will effectively deliver measures to safeguard the lives of the poor and vulnerable in the country.
Today the Government of The Gambia and the World Bank signed a Social Safety Nets project in amount of $31 million to support this significant initiative.
The World Bank Group will provide a $30 million grant, approved by its Board of Directors on May 24, 2019. The Government will contribute $million over the course of the project.
The main aim of the Social Safety Net Project is to support the Government in implementing its policies to protect the poor, as articulated in the National Development Plan and the National Social Protection Policy.
Chairing the signing ceremony, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance and Economic Affiars Mod Secka said the importance of the project cannot be understated. “It’s the first project of its kind in the country where the vulnerable are targeted to provide basic needs for their livelihood,” he added.
The Nafa Program, funded through the Project, will provide small amounts of income to support the extreme poor, so that they can spend on more and better quality food for survival, medicines, and clothes, services like education and healthcare, and tools, seed or small investments for production or savings.
“In a country where half of the population lives below the poverty line,: the Social Safety Net Project will help in bringing the most vulnerable of the population to the fore and also help in achieving our National Development Goals,” according to Saikou Trawally, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Office of the Vice-President.
The grant will also support the Government to put in place a Social Protection Secretariat and a Social Registry as a contribution towards the Government’s goal to establish and strengthen the leadership, coordination, and implementation mechanisms of the National Social Protection system.
Across Africa, evidence has shown that social safety net programs can provide equity, resilience and opportunity for the poor and vulnerable.
“I am delighted that the World Bank is able to provide grant financing to support the Government in fulfilling its pledges to the Gambia’s poor and rebuilding the social contract,” Elene Imnadze, World Bank Country Representative for The Gambia added.
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.