The African Development Bank has approved a loan and a grant amounting to US $7.14 million to finance the fourth Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Program in Eritrea.
This Program is an expansion of the ongoing Eritrea Component of the Multinational Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Program in the Horn of Africa Project II (DRSLP-II) approved by the Bank Group in November 2014.
It is designed to enhance drought resilience and improve sustainable livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Eritrea, with a view to help achieve food and nutrition security, increase employment and reduce poverty. It will complement the Eritrea component of DRSLP-II, by providing additional activities that could not be accommodated due to resources limitations. It will support the efforts of the Government of the State of Eritrea started under DRSLP-II to improve the drought resilience of the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities of the target areas
The project will cover the same six areas of DRSLP-II by providing additional activities including infrastructure to increase production and productivity of smallholder farmers and link them to markets. The four components of the project are: (i) natural resources management; (ii) value chain and support to livelihoods diversification; (iii) capacity building; and (iv) project management.
High unemployment, poverty and environmental challenges are among the main bottlenecks to inclusive growth in Eritrea in particular, and among member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), namely Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.
The negative impact of El Niño and recurrent droughts on people’s livelihoods have intensified food insecurity, and remains a key challenge to inclusiveness, especially in Eritrea, where 80% of the population derive their livelihoods from agriculture, which is dependent on underground water. Other challenges include governance issues and weak capacity to manage and build resilience in the rural communities.
Therefore, this intervention will seek to develop skills while promoting greater economic inclusion and resilience in the rural communities especially among youth and women. The project will also repair the damages and losses sustained by the population, especially the poor and vulnerable communities of the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), during the recurrent droughts in order to restore normalcy and resumption of economic and social activities.
The project will benefit about 120,000 people of which some 65,000 will be women. About 1,500 youth employment (men and women) will be created. The government is working to ensure that areas with low socio-economic indicators are adequately supported. Other public institutions such as the National Agricultural Institute and relevant Directorates in the Ministry of Agriculture will also benefit from the project in terms of capacity building.
The total estimated project cost is US $8.13 million. The loan and grant from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility (TSF) will cover 88% of the total cost, while the Government and beneficiaries will contribute the remaining 12% of the costs in kind and in cash.