World Bank approves $500mln in aid for countries affected by the locust invasion

Africa Link Special Reports

(Ecofin Agency) - The World Bank approved this week $500 million in low-interest loans and grants to battle locust swarms in Africa and the Middle East.

In Africa, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda will benefit directly in the first phase of a total of $160 million granted through the International Development Association (IDA). In detail, Ethiopia is expected to receive $63 million, partly for the purchase of seeds, fertilizer, and fodder. Uganda will benefit from $48 million to finance, among other things, resilience activities such as soil and water conservation. Kenya will receive $43 million to help pastoral households and agricultural producers, while Djibouti will use part of its $6 million to provide cash transfers to households. 

According to Holger Kray, a senior World Bank official, another part of the funds will be used to finance projects aimed at improving the region's resilience in the medium and long term through the strengthening of monitoring and early warning systems.

The World Bank's support is a real relief for the countries of the region and comes at a time when FAO fears a second wave of swarms by next June.  

According to the financial institution's most optimistic forecast, the Horn of Africa could lose $2.5 billion in agricultural and pastoral production if it manages to stem the locust threat, compared to $8.5 billion if it fails.