South Sudan will benefit from two new projects totaling $116 million that aim to strengthen the capacity of farmers, improve agricultural production, and restore livelihoods and food security. South Sudan is facing increasing levels of food insecurity despite increased production, with exceptionally high food prices constraining access to food for large segments of population and desert locusts devouring crops. It is projected that 7.2 million people will face acute food insecurity in the coming months, which is the highest number since independence.
The South Sudan Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Project (RALP) provides a grant of $62.5 million that will support investments in training for farmers to help them efficiently manage their organizations, adopt new technology, and use climate smart agriculture practices to boost their yields. It will also invest in tools, machinery, and seeds required to improve productivity.
The Emergency Locust Response Project (ELRP), which consists of a grant for $53.7 million, will boost South Sudan’s response to desert locusts by restoring livelihoods for the poorest and strengthening the country’s preparedness systems. The project will ensure direct income to the most vulnerable households to allow them to produce more food for themselves and local markets, as well as use labor intensive public works to provide income opportunities while promoting restoration of pasture and farming systems.
“These two timely projects provide a mix of investments in social protection and agriculture to address drivers of both acute and chronic food insecurity. The implementation modality supports a broader agenda of institutional capacity building for the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, and we look forward to collaborating closely with the government and other development partners to ensure that no one goes hungry,” said Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan.
The two grants will be the first World Bank-financed projects since 2018 to be implemented through government systems, specifically the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. The financing for these projects includes $50 million from the IDA19 Crisis Response Window Early Response Financing mechanism.
The ELRP includes two grants: a $50.7 million grant to South Sudan and a separate $3 million grant to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which will establish a regional coordination platform that will, inter alia, provide support to IGAD Member States, including South Sudan, to develop their own national preparedness plans and create a regional preparedness plan for desert locust and other transboundary pests. The platform will also help move information to and among its member states on transboundary threats and responses.
“Desert locusts know no borders, so this crisis demands a coordinated regional response,” said Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. “It is critical that every affected country acts urgently to control locust population growth and shares information and lessons learned to enable a speedy and effective response,” she added. This is the third phase of the regional Emergency Locust Response Program, which has already provided financing to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia.
The two complimentary projects provide a continuum of support from stabilizing household food security through safety nets to investing in the organizations, capacity, and technology to move South Sudan’s agriculture sector to a development orientation. The ELRP and RALP projects will be implemented in close coordination and collaboration with other World Bank-financed projects in South Sudan, such as the on-going South Sudan Safety Net Project and the South Sudan Enhancing Community Resilience And Local Governance Project. They will also prioritize close collaboration with donors to coordinate implementation across the country and to partner on the broader reform agenda to move South Sudan from humanitarian aid to a development focus.
*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 its inception, 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.