World Bank approves further $500 mln for Egypt’s social safety net

The World Bank has approved $500 million in additional funding to help Egypt strengthen its social safety nets, the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation said in a statement on Wednesday.

The new funding is designed to support the expansion of the Egyptian government’s cash transfer programme, called Takaful and Karama, which was launched in 2015, for an additional three years, the ministry statement added.

“As Egypt implements the second phase of the economic reform programme, we remain committed to providing sustainable income-generating opportunities,” the statement quoted Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr as saying

“This partnership with the World Bank builds on the success of the Takaful and Karama programme and the World Bank’s support for our goal to achieve sustainable growth for all Egyptians,” Minister Nasr added.

Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti, said the bank, through this programme, continues to support Egypt’s efforts to develop human resources and create jobs, which she said are essential for the success of the country’s reform programmes.

Promoting sustainable and comprehensive growth requires effective support to escape from the cycle of poverty, the statement quoted Wes as saying.

The Takaful and Karama programme, which translates to “Solidarity and Dignity,” was launched in 2015 with $400 million in financing from the World Bank.

The programme has reached more than two million impoverished households nationwide, benefiting approximately nine million individuals across all 27 governorates, or approximately 10 percent of Egypt’s population. Women comprise 88 percent of the programme’s beneficiaries.

Carried out by the social solidarity ministry, the programme offers monthly conditional pensions to vulnerable families and non-conditional pensions to poor, elderly citizens and people with severe disabilities and diseases, as well as orphans.

“Our partnership with the World Bank helps us design programmes that improve quality of life and build humans,” Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly said, according to the statement.

The World Bank currently has 16 projects in Egypt, worth a total of $7.5 billion.