The World Bank Supports Free Primary Education and Maternal and Child Health Improvements in the DRC
New Delhi: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $1 billion from the International Development Association (IDA)* to build human capital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This financing includes $800 million for the Emergency Equity and System Strengthening in Education Project (EESSE) and $200 million in additional financing for the Health System Strengthening for Better Maternal and Child Health Results Project (PDSS).
“By supporting free primary education and improving maternal and child health in the country’s poorest provinces, the two projects will help protect the most vulnerable population access basic services,” notes Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Burundi. “This funding is all the more important because it will help alleviate the economic and social consequences of the coronavirus affecting the poorest.”
The financing will support two projects:
The Emergency Equity and System Strengthening in Education Project (EESSE) will improve access to primary education in 10 provinces and strengthen core education systems. The targeted provinces are Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu, Ituri, Lomami, Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Kwilu, Kongo Central and Kinshasa.
“The EESSE will help the government roll out the reform on free primary education by strengthening governance systems and the quality of instruction,” says Scherezad Joya Monami Latif, World Bank Lead Education Specialist. “It will enable over nine million children to re-enroll and stay in school when schools reopen after the lockdown, and will provide access to school for more than a million poor children currently excluded from the education system.”
Additional financing for the Health System Strengthening for Better Maternal and Child Health Results Project (PDSS) will improve the use and quality of maternal and child health care services and provide an immediate, effective response to any eligible crisis or emergency. The project provinces are Mai-Ndombe, Kwilu, Kwango, Sud Ubangi, Mongala, Equateur, Tshuapa, Haut Katanga, Lualaba, Haut Lomami, Maniema, Nord-Kivu, Sud-Kivu and Kinshasa.
“This will continue and scale up our current efforts,” explains Hadia Samaha, World Bank Senior Health Specialist. “This performance-based financing approach has already been used to upgrade service quality while improving the public health system, disease surveillance, and response capacities to step up the DRC’s ability to handle epidemic outbreaks.”
The Emergency Equity and System Strengthening in Education Project is financed by a credit of $444 million and a grant of $356 million, while the fourth additional financing for the Health System Strengthening Project includes a credit of $121 million and a grant of $79 million.
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides 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. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.