AfDB Approves $ 73 Million Loan to Improve Social Assistance in Mongolia
The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) approved a loan of $ 73 million to improve social assistance to poor and vulnerable people, especially women and children, in order to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mongolia.
The project will specifically expand the Kids Money Program, which provides universal cash grants to all children ages 0-17. The AfDB will finance part of the protracted, shock-responsive increase in monthly child allowances until June 2021. This follows earlier supplements supported under an emergency aid loan from April to September 2020.
“Mongolia has taken early and decisive action to prevent the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020,” said Karin Schelzig, Senior Social Sector Specialist at AfDB. “However, while the direct impact on health was initially limited, economic data and several rapid assessments confirm that the socio-economic consequences of the virus containment efforts have been substantial, and things worsened with the first community transmission. registered in November 2020, requiring renewed confinements. “
As of May 2020, nearly three-quarters of all Mongolian households and 85% of poor households reported having experienced some kind of economic shock. Almost two-thirds (64%) of all households reported an increase in food prices, while almost three-quarters (73%) of the self-employed experienced a loss of income. About 70% of farming and pastoralist households reported a decrease in their income compared to the previous year.
The project will also help strengthen social protection programs and systems in Mongolia to better respond to future shocks and crises. The AfDB will finance activities to update the poverty targeting system and the integrated household database with more accurate data in order to better reach people in need.
The AfDB will also support the digitization of social protection programs in the “e-welfare” system in order to rationalize the delivery of benefits and services and will implement and evaluate a pilot test of the graduation approach to introduce an innovative type of social protection program that relies on cash transfers. with a holistic set of livelihoods, financial inclusion and coaching interventions.
The project is part of AfDB’s Holistic and Comprehensive Support Program to Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19 in Mongolia. The total cost of the project is $ 259.64 million, which includes government funding of $ 186.64. It is expected to be completed in 2023.