The World Bank Group has approved a $500 million program to help countries in Africa and the Middle East fight the locust swarms that are threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of people. The Emergency Locust Response Program (ELRP), approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, will focus on providing immediate assistance to help poor and vulnerable farmers, herders, and rural households overcome one of the worst locust upsurges in decades. The ELRP will provide immediate support to affected households through targeted social safety nets like cash transfers, while investing in the medium-term recovery of agriculture and livestock production systems and rural livelihoods in affected countries.
According to a statement from the Bank, the first countries to be financed under the initial phase of the program are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, with a total financing package of $160 million.
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said: “Locust swarms present a double crisis for countries that are also battling the COVID-19 pandemic. This food supply emergency, combined with the pandemic and economic shutdown in advanced economies, places some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at even greater risk.” This Day