The World Bank approved US$400 million in additional financing for the Tunisia COVID-19 Social Protection Emergency Response Support Project which aims to help about 900,000 vulnerable Tunisian households, or 30% of the total population, to cope with the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
This additional financing will continue to provide cash transfers to poor and low-income households while strengthening Tunisia’s social protection system. The main purpose is to scale up assistance provided under the parent project to mitigate the medium- and long-term impact of the pandemic and to reinforce resilience to future shocks.
It aims to strengthen the AMEN social program and ensure that cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households are not interrupted. The parent project was approved in March 2021 and became effective three months later.
“As it has everywhere, COVID-19 disproportionately affected the poorest and most vulnerable,” said Alexandre Arrobbio, World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia. “This additional financing supports Tunisia’s response to the impact of the health crisis as well as its plan to build a more effective and adaptive safety net system for vulnerable populations by supporting the country’s efforts to improve their living conditions.”
This new funding tranche will help to increase the AMEN program’s permanent cash transfers coverage from 260,000 to 310,000 beneficiary households, which represents 10% of the population, and will support the Ministry of Social Affairs’ efforts to improve the targeting and identification of poor households.
It will also extend family allowance program benefits to around 120,000 children who are five years old and under. This and other measures will help to boost the country’s human capital and to break the cycle of poverty across generations.