Somalia’s Most Vulnerable Households and Locust Response Efforts to Receive $185 Million Boost

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2021—200,000 chronically poor households with children under five years old will continue receiving cash transfers of $20 a month to help them access food, healthcare, and education. An additional 150,000 vulnerable households that are directly impacted by the locust infestation will receive emergency cash transfer of $60 a month for six months to help sustain their livelihoods. The support will cushion these households from the negative impacts of COVID-19, drought, climate-induced floods, and locust infestations.

The Somalia Shock Responsive Safety Net for Human Capital Project, popularly known as Baxnaano, approved by the World Bank Board today, will add $110 million to the current project envelope of $65 million approved in August 8, 2019 to continue Somalia’s efforts to invest in improving the human capital of its most vulnerable groups. This support helps counteract some of the effects of major flooding between 2018 and 2020, which displaced some 650,000 people in 2020 alone, and conflict and climate related disasters, which have internally displaced a total of 3 million people as of October 2020.

“Our support to the Federal Government’s Baxnaano safety net program complements humanitarian interventions by building the resilience of the rural poor,” said World Bank Somalia Country Manager, Kristina Svensson. “This helps reduce the rural to urban migration during crises, which is expected to lessen the burden on humanitarian assistance in the medium to longer term.”

In addition, current projections of food insecurity for the period of April-June 2021 estimate that 5.2 million people across Somalia will face acute or stressed levels of food insecurity in the absence of urgent assistance. The slower pace of growth in 2019 and contraction in 2020, resulting from multiple crisis— including an upsurge in locusts in recent months — have pushed more people into poverty, such that 71 percent of people were living on $1.90/person/day in 2020, two percentage points higher than 2017.

In response, the World Bank Board also approved $75 million in additional financing (above and beyond the original $40 million approved on June 29, 2020) to support Somalia to scale-up the coverage of its locust response. The Shock Responsive Safety Net for Locust Response Project (SNLRP) benefits from the Baxnaano delivery platform, which enables rapid reach to impacted households. The overall objective of the project is to protect food security and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable households affected by the locust outbreak and strengthen social protection systems.

The additional financing for the SNLRP is part of the regional Emergency Locust Response Program (ELRP) using the Multiphase Programmatic Approach (MPA) approved by the Board on May 20, 2020 with an overall financing envelope of $500 million. The MPA’s goal is to respond to the threat posed by the locust outbreak and to strengthen systems for preparedness. In addition to Somalia, the MPA covers Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and South Sudan.

Provision of emergency cash assistance during shocks, such as that of the locust invasion, helps protect vulnerable households’ physical and human capital assets and enables them to rebuild faster,” said World Bank Senior Social Protection Specialist and Project Task Team Leader, Afrah Alawi Al-Ahmadi.

With IDA support, Somalia is gradually establishing the building blocks of a shock responsive social safety net system as a key pillar for inclusive service delivery and socioeconomic inclusion of Somalia’s poorest citizens.

*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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.

Original Press Release

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