World Bank Provides $97 Million to Strengthen COVID-19 Response and Reforms in the Education Sector in Cameroon

The World Bank approved on November 24, 2020 an additional financing (AF) from the International Development Association (IDA) in the amount of $45 million to the Education Reform Support Project (ERSP) to support Cameroon’s efforts in promoting learning for all. This IDA credit will be complemented by a Global Partnership for Education (GPE) grant in the total amount of $ 52.45 million.

The AF as a part of the ERSP project will continue to improve equitable access to quality basic education, contribute to mitigating the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector, and respond to the massive forced displacement that resulted from the crisis in the anglophone regions (North West and South West) and from the refugee crisis.

This funding will support the critical reforms and activities planned under the ongoing Education Sector Strategy (2013-2020) and the forthcoming Education Sector Strategy (2021-2030).

“This support will help mitigate learning loss for children due to the impact of COVID-19, and help the government continue to focus on the most disadvantaged areas, fragile and conflict areas of Cameroon”, said Laurent Serge Etoundi Ngoa, Minister of Basic Education. “Those additional funds provide much needed support to also respond to the multiple crises that impact an education system which is already facing major challenges related to access, efficiency and equity.”

The Additional Financing will scale up and strengthen selected existing activities and incentives to harmonize government systems to deliver quality education at pre-primary and primary level for all, including refugees, Internally Displayed Peoples and host communities, and supporting COVID-19 response as relevant.

“Every child in Cameroon deserves good education, but this ambition is not met yet as the basic education sector in Cameroon is still coping with a learning crisis”, said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon. “The different crises the country is facing have several consequences: decrease in pre-primary and primary enrollment, especially in the Anglophone regions; high dropout and low completion rates or disparities in access and retention in basic education for children from disadvantaged groups, including girls and the poorest. This additional financing constitutes further investment in human capital, which is a key priority for the Cameroon’s National Development Strategy 2020-2030 to allow Cameroon to accelerate learning by building a more equitable and resilient post-COVID education system.”

The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. It is supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. The World Bank Group is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans and $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.