Washington: The World Bank approved a $150 million additional grant for the Social Safety Net Project (SSNP) to further support the government to increase the access of extremely poor households to safety net services, and to strengthen the foundations of the national social protection system, while accelerating the COVID-19 (coronavirus) social protection response.
“The Malagasy government reaffirms its will and determination to implement national social protection programs. And the World Bank’s support will help achieve a key objective for improving the living conditions and human capital in Madagascar. Together, we are strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable households in this unprecedented health context of COVID-19 that we are facing,” said Andry Rajoelina, President of the Republic of Madagascar.
This third additional financing will ensure continuity of the cash transfers to most of the current households and beneficiaries, while improving and expanding the programs to nine additional districts in five regions: Alaotra Mangoro, Analamanga, Analanjirofo, Atsimo Atsinanana, and Menabe. The project will build on its support to Tosika Fameno, the COVID-19 emergency cash transfer program, to build longer-term resilience of poor and vulnerable households in urban areas. The project will further strengthen the accompanying measures for the beneficiary households to develop human capital and provide them with opportunities to seek a sustained improvement in their living conditions. With this additional financing, a total of 14 regions and 29 districts throughout the country is reached. The total beneficiaries are brought to around four million people with this additional financing including crisis response.
“The consequences of COVID-19 on the economic well-being of households is far-reaching and potentially disastrous”, said Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira, World Bank Country Manager for Madagascar. “This third additional financing will support the expansion of the national social safety net programs to protect poor and vulnerable households in rural area and the implementation of new cash transfer program in urban area. This program will also put in place an exit strategy so that those who have been able to recover can make way for others in need to benefit from the program.”
This additional grant will further strengthen the national social protection system through digitalizing registration, developing an electronic payment system, strengthening complaint system and community engagement and systematizing community monitoring-evaluation. It will also support the Government in developing options for the social registry.
Since 2015, with support from the ongoing SSNP, the Government of Madagascar has established the basic elements of a targeted social safety net system. The SSNP has launched three cash transfer programs for poor and vulnerable households: the Productive Safety Net Program cash-for-work, the Human Development Cash Transfer for families with young children, and the FIAVOTA response for drought affected households in the South and crisis response. To date, these programs have reached around 2.5 million people.
Social safety net coverage and financing are expanding but remain extremely limited. Safety net regular programs (without crisis response) are operational in eight percent of the poorest districts and reach six percent of households in extreme poverty. Existing social safety net coverage increases to ten percent of the extreme poor during periods of crisis (including droughts, cyclone, and the COVID-19 lockdown).
The World Bank has supported Madagascar to build its social protection system since 2015 with the first IDA funded-project in the amount of US$40 million in 2015, followed by a first Additional Credit in an amount of US$35 million in October 2016 in order to respond to an El Niño driven severe drought in the South of Madagascar, and a second additional grant of US$90 million in March 2019 to expand social protection.