Up to US$256.54 million is available to the Government of Uganda to minimize the impact of COVID-19, improve access to basic services, create jobs and boost the economic self-reliance of refugees and the communities that host them. Out of this, $153.92 million is a grant.
The financing is part of the recently-approved 19th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA19), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, that will run from July 2020 to June 2023.
It is funded from a dedicated Window for Host Communities and Refugees (WHR) that will provide up to $2.2 billion to countries to address the long-term development needs of both populations and complement humanitarian response efforts of other partners.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on livelihoods on the poor and most vulnerable. With this new allocation, the Government of Uganda will be able to provide vital assistance to refugees and host communities to recover quickly and to strengthen their resilience to these and other shocks,” said Tony Thompson, World Bank Country Manager.
Uganda has one of the most progressive and welcoming refugee policies in the world and hosts about 1.4 million refugees and asylum seekers, making it the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa and the third-largest worldwide. The impacts of COVID-19c places additional constraints to strengthen livelihood opportunities for refugees and their hosts.
The World Bank has significantly scaled up its support for host communities and refugees in Uganda. Under IDA18, the Bank provided up to $500 million – most of it in grants – to support investments in basic social service infrastructure, integrated resources management including water resources, and income-generating activities.
Through the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP), the Government’s flagship program implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister, the Bank has enabled more than 2.4 million refugees and host community members to access improved social services, economic opportunities and infrastructure.
Facilities include classrooms with modern furniture, teachers’ houses, health centres, public latrines, water harvesting tanks and veterinary clinics. The project is also helping rehabilitate degraded lands, improve the sustainability of water sources, and maintain fertile croplands and forests.
To help both refugees and host communities thrive, a livelihoods program is helping create, expand and improve opportunities for people to earn income from value-added agriculture, fisheries, and brick production.
In addition to DRDIP, four other projects have been approved to improve planning within local governments to cater for the needs of host communities and refugee populations, provide access to cleaner and safe water, and to support agro-forestry and woodlots as well as improved forest management in refugee-hosting areas.
The Bank is also supporting various national response in plans for refugees and host communities to deliver the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, as well as strengthening partnerships and coordination of the national response.