The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a grant of 160 million dollars to support the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda.
The grant, approved yesterday, is a follow-up to the 100 million-dollar Northern Uganda Social Action Fund. A statement from World Bank says the new credit will use community driven development approaches to improve access of to income-earning opportunities and better basic social services.
Suleiman Namara, the World Bank Senior Social Protection Specialist, says the investment is critical in helping to reduce the development gap between Northern Uganda and the rest of the country. She says it will serve immediate needs of formerly displaced people by helping them to rebuild their communities.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics says Northern Uganda has the largest proportion of people living in poverty. 61 percent of the region's population, almost twice the national level, lives in poverty.
Kundhavi Kadiresan the World Bank Uganda Country Manager says the new operation will assist in the transition from predominantly humanitarian assistance towards a more sustainable government-led development effort.
The first Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF I), started in 2003 and closed in March 2009. Despite several reports that the fund was mismanaged, it is considered a success because it empowered communities in the districts of Northern Uganda. Beneficiaries were enabled to identify, prioritize and plan for their needs within and to improve economic livelihoods.
The new 5-year operation builds on the lessons learnt over implementation of NUSAF I. 60 million dollars will be spend on livelihood investment support, 20 million dollars on a public works program and 40 million dollars will help to improve incomes of poor households, particularly those headed by women, youth and people with disabilities.
30 million dollars will go to a community infrastructure rehabilitation component. 10 million dollars will finance activities aimed at improving accountability and transparency in the use of project resources.