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As the global food crisis intensifies, the World Bank  has ramped up its efforts to combat rising food insecurity, particularly in Africa. In an update released on Monday, the Bank announced that it has now committed $45 billion, surpassing its initial pledge of $30 billion over 15 months. This funding comes from a combination of new lending and the existing portfolio.

FOOD CRISES

The Bank’s food and nutrition security initiatives now span 90 countries, targeting both short-term measures, such as expanding social protection, and long-term strategies, including boosting agricultural productivity and promoting climate-smart agriculture.

In Africa, these interventions are expected to benefit millions, with a special focus on women, who are disproportionately affected by the crisis. “The Bank’s intervention is expected to benefit 335 million people, which is 44% of the undernourished population. Around 53% of the beneficiaries are women,” the update states.

One significant initiative is the $2.75 billion Food Systems Resilience Program for Eastern and Southern Africa. This program aims to enhance the resilience and capacity of the region’s food systems to address growing food insecurity. “Now in phase three, the program will improve inter-agency food crisis response and strengthen medium- and long-term efforts for resilient agricultural production, sustainable development of natural resources, expanded market access, and a greater focus on food systems resilience in policymaking,” the update highlights.

In West Africa, the $766 million West Africa Food Systems Resilience Program is working to increase preparedness against food insecurity and enhance the resilience of food systems. “The program is enhancing digital advisory services for agriculture and food crisis management, boosting the adaptive capacity of agricultural system actors, and investing in regional food market integration and trade to improve food security,” the update states. An additional $345 million is being prepared for Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Additionally, the $175 million Sahel Irrigation Initiative Regional Support Project is helping to build resilience and boost the productivity of agricultural and pastoral activities in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. “More than 130,000 farmers and members of pastoral communities are benefiting from small and medium-sized irrigation initiatives. The project is creating a portfolio of bankable irrigation investment projects covering about 68,000 hectares, focusing on medium and large-scale irrigation in the Sahel region,” the World Bank update states.

The Bank’s interventions address diverse challenges across various African countries. In Malawi, a $95 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) aims to commercialize select agricultural value chain products and provide immediate crisis response. In Madagascar, a $200 million IDA grant seeks to improve decentralized service delivery, upgrade water supply, restore landscapes, and strengthen the resilience of food and livelihood systems in the drought-prone ‘Grand Sud’.

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