20 May 2017

Ethiopia: WB Gives Hand for Registration of Vital Statistics

The fund is part of a 190 million dollar financing of the Bank

As the last funding of this fiscal year, the World Bank (WB) has granted 345 million Br to the Vital Events Registration Agency (VERA) with the aim of automating the registration process in the country.

The loan agreement was signed last Thursday at the premises of the Ministry of Finance & Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) located on King George VI Avenue. Abraham Tekeste (PhD), minister of Finance & Economic Cooperation, and Carolyn Turk, WB's country director for Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan, inked the agreement.

"We will use the finance to automate our registration system and to procure logistics materials which will facilitate our registration process," said Elsa Tesfay, general manager of VERA.

The Agency was established five years ago with the primary aim of directing, coordinating and keeping centrally the registration of vital events - such as birth, marriage, divorce and death - at a national level. But the Agency officially kicked off registration for such events in August 2016.

VERA is registering the important events within a prescribed time: birth within 90 days; marriage, divorce and death within 30 days.

The financing was made as part of a 190 million dollar grant agreement of the WB to the government of Ethiopia. The loan and the grants will be used to finance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals Program, specifically for activities in the Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP).

Out of the total financing, 150 million dollars of the loan is secured from the International Development Association, 20 million dollars from the Global Financing Facility in the form of a grant and 20 million dollars in the mode of a grant from the Power of Nutrition.

"The financing will support the country's effort to build a civil registration and vital statistics system through policy development and capacity building," said Abraham during the agreement signing ceremony.

This year, the World Bank has committed close to a billion dollars to Ethiopia. Since its first two projects, highway and bank development assistance, in 1950, the Bank has committed eight billion dollars in the past two decades alone.

"This round of financing is result-oriented funding," said Carolyn. "We availed the fund following the progress which the country is recording in the health and vital registration process."

Out of the 18,506 registration terminals, the Agency has already started registration on 14,264 stations. And during the past nine months of the current fiscal year, the Agency registered a total of 323,920 vital events.

When the Agency records the vital events, it gives four certificates; to the person, to the registration body, to the Central Statistical Agency, and one for the Agency.

"We will announce an international tender for the design study for an Information Technology system strategy," said Elsa.

This specific fund is from the Global Financing Facility.

Under the Agency, all regions and city administrations have their vital registration agencies except the Tigray Regional State, which has its vital registration office under the town's justice bureaus.

The Agency is accountable to the office of the Attorney General as it is established to collect information and data for legal, administration and statistical purposes.

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