The World Bank-funded project would be extended to the North West and South West Regions.
The technical follow up committee charged with implementation of a World Bank-funded poverty alleviation project in the poorest communities in Cameroon is brainstorming on strategies to extend the scheme to some communities in the North West and South West Regions. The Chairman of the committee, Jean Tchoffo who doubles as Secretary General of the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development disclosed the plan during an ordinary session of the committee held in Yaounde on May 15.
He said the extension among other modifications of the initial project, has been made possible by a financing agreement the Government of Cameroon and the World Bank signed in April this year. The government agreed to accept (in addition to an earlier offer that funded earlier phases of the project) 60 million US dollars (circa FCFA 35 billion) from the Bank of which 50 per cent is a loan and the other half being a grant, we learned. Tchoffo also revealed the French Development Agency (AFD) has expressed interest in supporting the project.The social safety net project includes cash transfers, training in income generating activities and public works programs for the poorest and most vulnerable people.
The additional financing is crucial because of the current state of affairs in the country. This, he said, is because the next phase will take into consideration, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from neighbouring countries. "The money will alleviate the hardships they are facing. IDPs and refugees destabilise the functioning of host communities and there is also a need to make sure the localities do not suffer from additional pressures," Jean Tchoffo said. The funds, we learned, will be used for labour intensive activities in council areas where beneficiaries would be paid to do jobs and there would be direct cash transfers to support the vulnerable people. 30,000 people are expected to benefit from the implementation of this phase of the social safety nets project.