World Bulletin / News Desk
The World Bank and IGAD on Monday signed a $5 million International Development Association (IDA) financing grant at the World Bank Offices in Nairobi to help improve economic opportunities, environmental management and social services.
According to the World Bank, the $5 million funding was approved by the World Bank Executive Board of Directors on May 31,2016.
The $5 million is part of a larger sum approved for East African countries such as $100 million to Ethiopia, $50 million to Uganda, $20 million to Djibouti.
Speaking during the agreement signing ceremony Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye,Coordinating Director for Regional Integration for Central, East and Southern Africa for World Bank emphasized the project aims to provide a development response to the impact of displacements in the Horn of Africa.
"One of the main issues today that require an adequate response is the ever-increasing number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) on the continent and its negative impact on the social, economic, political and human development," Moustapha said.
More than one-third of the 65 million people displaced globally are in Africa with the Horn of Africa region hosting more than 9.5 million displaced persons, including 6.5 million internally displaced persons and 3 million refugees, Moustapha said.
"The proposed project seeks to enhance the productive capacities and coping mechanisms of communities hosting refugees in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda who face on a daily basis competition over scarce social services and economic infrastructure, livelihood opportunities, and environmental and natural resources," Moustapha added.
The World Bank official said the project would put communities at the center of the development response, seeking to support and strengthen government systems by financing them and delivering durable solutions to forced displacement impacts.
Among the reasons for Kenya deciding to shut down the Dadaab refugee complex, home to over 340,000 Somali refugees, by November, were insecurity, environmental degradation and lack of proper funding among others.
The grant to IGAD from the World Bank will establish a regional secretariat for Forced Displacement and Mixed Migration to support a holistic regional response, backed by data, to influence interventions in both refugee-hosting and refugee-producing countries.
On Monday the World Bank also signed an $8 million agreement to support quality training and research skills among higher education institutions in eastern and Southern Africa with the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA).