High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique

World Bank grant for sustainable rural economy

Maputo, 11 Jun (AIM) – The World Bank on 10 June approved a grant of US$150 million from the International Development Association (IDA) in support of the first phase of Mozambique’s Sustainable Rural Economy Programme.

According to a World Bank press release, this programme is intended “to improve the incomes and resilience of communities in rural areas”.

The first phase of the ten year programme “will tackle some of the pressing challenges facing small agriculture producers and fishers as well as Micro. Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), while improving natural resource management practices”, the release added.

“The rural space is the backbone of livelihoods for most of the population in Mozambique. It also accounts for most of the country’s poor,” said Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique.“Rapid rural population growth adds an estimated 450,000 youth to the country’s workforce every year, making the focus on rural income growth imperative for promoting inclusive growth and preventing conflicts.”

According to the Bank, the project “will provide support to small agriculture producers and fisheries to increase their productivity and access to markets and help MSMEs improve their sales, while promoting the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices”.

The programme, the release adds, “adopts a landscape approach to rural resilience, linking the support for productivity and value addition in the agriculture sector to the adoption of sound natural resource management practices on which rural production depends”.

“It’s evident that economic expansion in agriculture yields the highest impact on poverty reduction in Mozambique,” declared Diego Carballo, Lead Agriculture Economist, and the operation’s task team leader. “However, the sector’s potential continues to be challenged by low productivity, mostly due to low technology adoption, limited provision of agricultural services, coupled with high seasonality in production, as well as increasing climate vulnerability. This project seeks to address some of these challenges.”

This project will be implemented by the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Land and Environment, and Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, “and it is in line with the country’s priorities outlined in its five-year plan, the Bank’s partnership framework with Mozambique for 2017-21, as well as the new conflict-prevention and resilience-building focus of World Bank activities in Mozambique”.

The IDA is that part of the World Bank which provides grants and soft loans to projects and programmes in the world’s poorest countries intended to boost economic growth, reduce poverty and improve living standards.