WB approves $500 mln loan to support Egypt’s food security, social protection net

Doaa A.Moneim , Wednesday 29 Jun 2022

The World Bank’s (WB) Board of Executive Directors announced its approval on Wednesday of a $500-million-loan to back Egypt’s social protection net and food security in the face of the impacts of the Russian-Ukrainian War.

A person walks by the building of the Washington-based global development lender, The World Bank Gro
A person walks by the building of the Washington-based global development lender, The World Bank Group, in Washington on 17 January 2019. AFP


The loan will be dedicated to executing the new Emergency Food Security and Resilience Support Project.

The loan will support Egypt by mobilising immediate short-term relief to address supply and price shocks while simultaneously bolstering Egypt’s longer-term food security strategy and improved nutrition for the poor and vulnerable, the WB expounded.

Moreover, it aims to support the country’s efforts to ensure that poor and vulnerable households have uninterrupted access to bread, strengthen Egypt’s resilience to food crises, and support reforms in food security policies to improve nutritional outcomes.

According to the WB, the Emergency Food Security and Resilience Support Project will help cushion the impact of the war in Ukraine on food and nutritional security in Egypt.

“The Russian Federation and Ukraine are the world’s largest wheat exporters, and the war has driven up prices and created nutritional shortfalls, particularly for people who rely on bread for their daily nutritional needs,” the WB explained.

It added that bread is a staple commodity in Egypt and that the new project is meant to link wheat imports to direct assistance to the poor and vulnerable population through Egypt’s Bread Subsidy Programme.
“This project supports the government’s strong commitment to ensuring that the needs of citizens continue to be met even amid a very challenging global context caused by concomitant crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. In addition to ensuring sustained food security, this project supports national climate efforts by increasing agricultural resilience,” said Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.

The WB expounded that the project will finance the public procurement of a month’s supply of imported wheat for the Bread Subsidy Programme, which supports around 70 million low-income Egyptians, including around 31 million people under the national poverty line. 

It will also support national efforts to lower waste and loss in the wheat supply chain by upgrading and expanding climate-resilient wheat silos, sustainably improving domestic cereal production, and boosting Egypt’s preparedness and resilience against future shocks.

“A significant number of households in Egypt reduced their food consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, which could have a lasting impact on the nutrition and cognitive development of young children. An improved nutritional strategy — including through balanced diets — is a key element of this project,” the WB noted.

“This emergency operation comes at a very critical juncture when the food security of many countries is threatened by the war in Ukraine,” said Marina Wes, the WB’s country director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti.

She added that this facility is part of the WB’s broader efforts to support Egypt’s green, inclusive, and resilient recovery. 

“As always, we are keen to continuously support Egypt in overcoming obstacles to its ambitious sustainable development plans and to further enable the country to pave the way for a prosperous and productive future for all its citizens,” Wes stressed.

Consequently, the project incorporates climate change efforts through investments to modernise wheat silos in Egypt to reduce wheat waste and loss, as well as introducing training programmes that promote climate-smart agricultural practices to farmers.

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