Over Nine Million Yemenis Will Benefit from Additional World Bank Financing

WASHINGTON  — The World Bank has approved an additional US$300 million for the Emergency Social Protection Enhancement and COVID-19 Response Project in Yemen. The project, which began in December 2020, is designed to strengthen the foundations of the country’s social protection system, help extremely poor households access safety net services, and accelerate Yemen’s response to COVID-19.

The grant from the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, the International Development – Association (IDA), will be used to strengthen the capacity of national institutions and support unconditional cash transfers, temporary employment, and increased access to basic services and economic opportunities, particularly for food-insecure populations affected by COVID-19, the conflict, and climate-related shocks.

Living conditions in Yemen have deteriorated markedly over the past year and are expected to get worse with the Ukraine conflict, with food insecurity and malnutrition already reaching alarmingly levels. Seven years of conflict have devastated the economy and impoverished the population, as household incomes plummeted, local food production and agricultural assets are destroyed, and food prices increased. Food prices have skyrocketed since mid-2020 after COVID-19-triggered an increase in global food prices and the depreciation of the Yemeni Rial.

The January 2022 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) estimates show that 54 percent of Yemenis (17.4m people) suffer from acute food insecurity, and 2.2 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished. Yemen relies heavily on grain imports from Ukraine and Russia and an increase in global food and fuel prices triggered by the Ukraine war is likely to drive up domestic food prices further. Yemen imports over 90 percent of the food it consumes, and its grain stocks are low.

“Yemen’s protracted conflict has had a disastrous effect on the daily lives of Yemenis, and food security is deteriorating rapidly,” said Tania Meyer, World Bank Country Manager for Yemen. “This additional financing will provide social safety nets and cash transfers to protect poor and vulnerable households across Yemen. The program will provide immediate relief to households, as well as strengthen their resilience to food insecurity and malnutrition in the future.”

Since its re-engagement in Yemen in 2016, the World Bank has supported the Yemeni people through a large, grant-based program totaling US$2.5 billion. The World Bank provides technical expertise to design projects and guides their implementation by building stronger partnerships with UN agencies and local institutions who have implementation capacity on the ground.

World Bank Group COVID-19 Response

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has deployed over US$157 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history. The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jumpstart a climate-friendly recovery. The Bank is also supporting over 50 low- and middle-income countries, more than half of which are in Africa, with the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines. It is making US$20 billion in financing available for this purpose until the end of 2022.

 

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