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World Bank Awards Djibouti $20M for Improving Living Conditions for Urban Poor

November 12, 2018

Djibouti was just approved by the World Bank for a $20 million International Development Association (IDA) package to improve living conditions for the country's residents who are living in deprived urban regions.

A view of makeshift homes of some of Djibouti's poor. Photo: Keo the Younger, CC

The funding is also intended to strengthen Djibouti’s urban development capacity. 

The package includes a $5 million grant from the IDA18 Regional Sub-Window for Refugees and Host Communities (RSW). The RSW is a $2 billion fund provided by IDA to support low-income countries hosting large numbers of refugees.

The Integrated Slum Upgrading Project (ISUP) contributes to the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. The project promotes equal access to basic urban and social services and improved access to job opportunities through improved mobility.

Djibouti Ville’s high rate of urban growth is a result of the natural demographic growth combined to the continuous inflow of people from rural areas and neighboring countries seeking economic opportunities. The movement of people was driven by the repeated droughts over the past 30 years and conflicts in the region. With a lack of affordable housing options, more than one third of the capital city population today lives in 13 slums, which continue to grow rapidly. The expansion of these urban areas has mostly happened in an uncontrolled manner, making service provision challenging.

This project will invest in urban and social services which will improve living conditions in these deprived areas, including for refugees” said Atou Seck, World Bank Resident Representative for Djibouti. ”It will also strengthen the capacity of the Djiboutian public institutions involved in land administration and urban development.

With the project, it is more than 15% of the slum dwellers who will get improved access to services, such as transport, water, street lighting, and community centers. Children will have shorter distances to walk to attend school. And firefighters and ambulances will finally be able to get inside the neighborhood. The population will be involved in the identification and prioritization of the investments and will receive small grants to help make the best use of those new opportunities. In parallel, government institutions will receive a large pool of technical assistance activities to reform the affordable housing policy and attract more donors to support its implementation. For example, it is expected to simplify and modernize land regularization procedures to face the expected surge of applications from less than 200 to 800 per year.

We are proud to help the government of Djibouti initiate its ambitious and innovative Zero Slum Program," said Alexandra Le Courtois, Urban Development Specialist. “It not only aims to improve the living conditions of the 120,000+ slum dwellers, but also to address the roots of the problem with an increased production of affordable housing and a strong engagement with the poorest urban households.” 

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