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$50m financing for Benin community health project-

September 2, 2021
islamic finance

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Government of Benin have signed a $50 million financing agreement for “Closing Gaps: Community Health, Human Resources, and Nutrition” project, a new development project in Benin.

The project was signed at a high-level signing ceremony by Romuald Wadagni, Minister of Economy and Finance, Benin, and Dr Muhammad Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank and Chairman of IsDB Group, in conjunction with the 2021 IsDB Group Annual Meetings taking place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from September 1 to 4.

The project which is funded with concessional financing from IsDB’s Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) with the support of the Bank’s donor partners, aims to address the critical and urgent gaps in primary healthcare and nutrition services in Benin, particularly with regard to maternal and child healthcare.

It is a large-scale project representing $50 million in funding extended to the Government of Benin and includes a $17.5 million (35%) grant by the LLF – a collaborative initiative of IsDB with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, and Qatar Fund for Development. Also, the project was designed in coordination with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

On the occasion Al Jasser, said: “This is an important project for the long-term, sustainable socio-economic prosperity of Benin. Through this Lives and Livelihoods Fund investment, we are helping to create lasting positive change in the country’s health sector to help people live longer and happier lives and set the foundation for the next generation to thrive and reach their full potentials. We are pleased to join hands with the Government of Benin, and delighted to be moving forward on our commitment to support and empower the most disadvantaged communities across the Muslim world.

“Together with our donors and partners, the IsDB is looking forward to delivering on the project milestones, and contributing, step by step, towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The objectives of the project are to improve access to primary healthcare and nutrition services and to strengthen the surveillance and prevention of epidemics and infectious diseases in communities.

The project, which will be implemented through the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, includes recruitment and deployment of community healthcare workers and qualified healthcare personnel; development and dissemination of a national nutrition strategy with a focus on urban vulnerable population; and strengthening Monitoring, Evaluation and Data Management, among other components.

The current timeline for completion is five years. By the end of the project, 400 medical doctors, 400 nurses and midwives, and 600 health assistants are expected to be recruited, trained and deployed in rural areas to provide health and nutrition services to communities; and over 4,000 community health workers are expected to be recruited and deployed to provide home-based health and nutrition services.

In addition, the project will support the development and implementation of the National Nutrition Strategy and contribute towards strengthening the district health information system for the benefit of the people of Benin.

The LLF uses an innovative financing model that combines grants from regional and international donor partners with the lending capital of IsDB to offer concessional loans to address critical drivers of poverty. It finances interventions that benefit the poorest and most vulnerable communities in IsDB Member Countries with a focus on health, agriculture, and basic infrastructure.

The blended financing does not merely address immediate gaps in human capital development needs but rather sets in motion a fundamental change that can create opportunities for millions of disadvantaged people, especially women and the youth.