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What The World Bank Is Doing?

Oct 16, 2008, 6:13 AM | Article By: By Pap Saine in USA

The World Bank Group's New Deal on Global Food Policy has been endorsed by 150 countries. The New Deal embraces short, medium and long-term responses: including safety nets such as school feeding, food for work, and conditional cash transfers; increased agricultural production; a better understanding of the impact of biofuels; and action on the trade front to reduce distorting subsidies and trade barriers. The Bank is taking action by:

* Creating a $1.2 billion rapid financing facility to speed assistance to the neediest countries.

* Boosting overall agricultural lending to $6 billion over the next year.

* Launching risk management tools and crop insurance to protect poor countries and small-holders.

* Nearly doubling agricultural lending to Africa from $450 million to $800 million; and to Latin America from $250 million to $400 million.

* Supporting over $1billion in new projects in agriculture and rural development in South Asia.

* Doubling lending for social protection, nutrition and food security, and social risk mitigation to $800 million over the next year.

* Providing $200 million to Bangladesh to help address the food crisis.

* Providing $100 million to hard-hit Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, and Niger to meet additional expenses of food imports and to buy seeds for the new season.

*Providing grants to Djibouti ($5 million), Haiti ($10 million), and Liberia ($10 million) to feed poor children and other vulnerable groups.

*Providing grants to Togo, Tajikistan, and Yemen over the coming month.

* Working on irrigation and water management in Ethiopia, fertilizer use in Malawi, market access for smallholders in Senegal, and crop diversification in Mali and Uganda.

* Preparing a food crisis related emergency operation to help Honduras tackle effects of the rising food prices.

* Providing financial assistance to Kyrgyz and Tajikistan for nutritional supplements to pregnant women, lactating mothers, infants and small children.

* Conducting rapid needs assessments for countries impacted by the crisis, including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

* Urging major grain-producing countries to lift or refrain from bans on food exports.

*Working with other donors and agencies on the African Union's New Partnership for Africa's Development Program for agriculture development in Sub-Saharan Africa.