December 6, 2022

More Loans: World Bank approves $2.3 billion program to address food insecurity in Eastern and Southern Africa with first phase targeting Ethiopia and Madagascar where 30 million people are food insecure due to severe drought

World Bank Group President David Malpass gives opening speech FRIDAY
World Bank Group President David Malpass gives opening speech

The World Bank Group announced on Wednesday that it has approved a $2.3 billion program to address escalating food insecurity in Eastern and Southern Africa with the first phase of the project targeting Ethiopia and Madagascar where more than 30 million people are food insecure as a result of severe drought.

“Ethiopia, where up to 22.7 million people are food insecure due to the most severe drought the country has ever faced, and Madagascar, where 7.8 million people are facing acute food insecurity because of historic droughts in the South of the country, will be targeted in the first phase of the project,” the World Bank said in a statement, noting that food system shocks brought on by extreme weather, pest and disease outbreaks, political and market instability, and conflict are becoming more frequent and severe, putting more people at risk of food insecurity.

It added that the war in Ukraine is further exacerbating these effects by disrupting the global food, fuel, and fertilizer markets. As a result, an estimated 66.4 million people in the region are projected to experience food stress or a food crisis, emergency, or famine by July 2022.  

According to the World Bank, the first phase of the project “will also support the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which will strengthen information and data sharing, and the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), which will leverage its existing networks and outreach tools for regional coordination mechanisms. With a total financing package of $788.10 million, the initial phase of the program is expected to benefit 2.3 million people.”

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 74 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has provided $458 billion to 114 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $29 billion over the last three years (FY19-FY21), with about 70 percent going to Africa.

The World Bank said to address these risks, “the Food Systems Resilience Program for Eastern and Southern Africa (FSRP) will enhance inter-agency food crisis response strategies—including strengthening early warning systems and rapid response planning, emergency support to producers, emergency trade measures, emergency food reserves—and will include a Contingent Emergency Response Component (CERC) to provide agile, rapid funding.”

“This is the first regional and multi-sectoral operation focusing on reducing the number of food insecure people in Eastern and Southern Africa by increasing the resilience of food systems and preparedness to combat rising food insecurity. It supplements a similar program that the Bank approved recently for Western and Central Africa,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa. “Ensuring regional coordination in addressing the challenges posed by climate change, market volatility, and the need for food policy reform constitute key priorities.”

In addition, the program will also boost medium- and long-term efforts for resilient agricultural production, sustainable development of natural resources, expanded market access, and emphasize a greater focus on food systems resilience in policymaking.

“While climate-induced shocks to the food system used to occur once every 10 years on average, they are now occurring every 2.5 years. This is too frequent for countries, regions, or farms to sufficiently recover between the shocks, and therefore investing in food systems resilience is key to allowing the region to act on food systems challenges in more cooperative and effective ways,” said Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director of Regional Integration Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.

According to the World Bank, the FSRP is central to the World Bank’s engagement in the region, which prioritizes enhancing human development outcomes and increasing the resilience of populations in a region undergoing many challenges.

To complement this International Development Association (IDA)* investment, a stand-alone multi-donor trust fund financed by the European Commission, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States Agency for International Development, and German Development Bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, will be established for Ethiopia as part of the FSRP. Also for Ethiopia, the Bank has partnered with the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) to accelerate adaptation to climate in the implementation of the project. GCA provides technical advisory support to assess climate risks in priority value chains and to identify digital adaptation tools.

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