WASHINGTON, December 18, 2020 — The World Bank today approved US$30 million in additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, to improve the living conditions and socio-economic inclusion of Djibouti’s most vulnerable host communities and refugees, and to help the Djiboutian authorities continue policies supporting the integration of refugees.
The financing comprises a US$25 million grant from the IDA 19 Window for Host Communities and Refugees (WHR) and US$5 million in IDA credit. The WHR was created to support countries like Djibouti that host large refugee populations and help them address the long-term development needs of refugee and host communities. Refugees constitute about 3% of Djibouti’s total population, making it one of the highest refugee population ratios in the world.
"The Government of Djibouti is committed to addressing the needs of both our refugees and our host communities and reducing social exclusion," said Amina Abdi Aden, Minister of Housing in Djibouti. "This is an important step toward reducing social exclusion and ensuring that all people live with adequate housing and access to services."
The main purpose of the additional financing is to widen the scope of the Integrated Slum Upgrading Project, approved in 2018, through investments in infrastructure, basic services, and improvements to housing, while promoting integration between host communities and refugees. The operation is expected to directly benefit about 114,000 people in the Djibouti-Ville slums of Ali-Addeh and Hol-Hol, the two areas that host about 78% of the total refugee population.
"Addressing infrastructure and gaps in basic services in urban slums is critical to ending extreme poverty, reducing inequality and boosting shared prosperity in Djibouti," said Boubacar-Sid Barry, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti. "The additional financing will help make people in urban neighborhoods feel more included and support the country’s potential for sustainable growth."
Djibouti-Ville’s high rate of urban growth is a result of natural demographic growth combined with a continuous inflow of people from rural areas inside Djibouti and neighboring countries. While some people have relocated in search of economic opportunities, many have been forced to leave their homes because of repeated droughts or conflicts in the region. The increase in population has created new extensions on the outskirts of the city of Djibouti. More than 20% of the capital’s population today lives in rapidly growing slums in poor quality housing with a lack of access to basic services.
Activities will focus on targeting the most vulnerable Djiboutian slum-dweller population while integrating the refugees’ dimension, from slum-upgrading to socio-economic inclusion. In particular they will support economic activities in poor urban neighborhoods and refugee hosting villages to improve their links to business. They will give both communities access to basic services, better housing and opportunities for training to upgrade their skills and reduce their sense of social exclusion.
"Communities living in slums find themselves in the most precarious conditions. They are often excluded from formal employment and stable housing opportunities," said Anastasia Touati, Project Task Team Leader. "This additional financing will benefit both host and refugee communities in Djibouti and, with it, we also aim to improve living conditions, access to jobs and formal housing."
The World Bank’s portfolio in Djibouti consists of 14 IDA-funded projects totaling US$210 million. The portfolio is focused on social safety nets, energy, urban poverty reduction, health, education, the modernization of public administration, governance and private sector development, all with an emphasis on women and youth.
Kadar Mouhoumed Omar