Washington — The World Bank Board approved additional financing of $8 million for the Social Protection and Skills Development Project (SPSD) in Sao Tome and Principe (STP). This grant reinforces the work of the ongoing SPSD, and strengthens government support for the development, management and operation of an effective, sustainable, national safety net system for poor households. The project also supports an inclusive, and labor-market relevant skills development programs, which have benefited 2,500 poor households over the past two years.
While strict measures were put into place to curtail the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the economy of STP was severely affected by the pandemic. Primarily the country experienced significant losses in the tourism industry, which has been a primary driver of private sector growth in recent years and the source of a large share of the country's formal employment opportunities.
Due to COVID-19, 8,000 new households have fallen or are falling into poverty in STP, in addition to 24,000 households that are already below the poverty line.
This financing will address the urgent needs of the STP population by scaling up the project activities within the same territorial areas covered by the parent project to provide cash transfers to an additional 16,000 households over a period of nine months. These 16,000 households represent 50 percent of the poor population in the country and will cover the 8,000 households who are falling into poverty due to COVID-19.
"Protecting the poor and the vulnerable must be at the center of any development intervention. Therefore, social protection projects do not only protect people, but they also help to ensure that the gains achieved in reducing poverty in the last decades are not completely lost", said Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Director to Sao Tome and Principe.
The approval of this AF brings the total budget of the Social Protection and Skills Development Project to US$ 18 million.
PRESS RELEASE NO: 2021/094/AFR