The World Bank has approved a grant of $20 million to boost social inclusion of refugees hosted by Rwanda.
The grant, which will be channelled through the Socio-Economic Inclusion of Refugees and Host Communities in Rwanda Project, aims to ease the economic pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic on refugees.
The Bank said that the funding will support job creation through economic infrastructure such as roads and markets, technical and vocational training and funding for local businesses in the six districts that host refugees in Rwanda. The districts include Kirehe, Gatsibo, Gicumbi, Karongi, Nyamagabe and Gisagara.
Since its inception in 2019, the project, also known in Kinyarwanda as "Jya Mbere" (move forward) is providing over 450,000 Rwandans and refugees with better access to basic services such as health, education and clean water.
Matthew Stephens, World Bank Senior Social Development Specialist, and the project task team leader said that the initiative and project will help refugees and host communities recover from the immediate impacts of the pandemic while building longer-term capacity in the health and education systems.
"The support for businesses is particularly important given the impacts on local enterprises of the Covid-19 lockdowns," he said.
The additional $20 million grant responds directly to the impacts of Covid-19.
This will include upgrading to improve patient care at the district hospitals in Kirehe and Gatsibo, plus construction and improvements to health centres, schools and water systems in the project districts.
The additional grant will also provide access to finance and training for businesses run by refugees and host community members in urban areas, including Huye District, the City of Kigali and Bugesera.
Rolande Pryce, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda said that the World Bank is committed to helping Rwanda recover from the impacts of Covid-19.
"The additional $20 million grant for the Jya Mbere project is part of a $350 million package that the World Bank has made available so far to support the government's response to the pandemic. By including refugees and the communities that host them in these efforts, Rwanda is further solidifying its well-earned reputation as a welcoming host to refugees," she said.