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» 14.01.2005 - Eritrea introduces currency, import restrictions

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Economy - Development | Science - Education

Funds for education and reconstruction in Eritrea

afrol News, 20 June - Two Eritrean government projects yesterday received financing, totalling US$ 60 million. The World Bank has approves a loan to support an education sector investment and a grant for an emergency reconstruction programme in Eritrea.

According to a World Bank press release, the Eritrea Education Sector Investment Project (EESIP) - that obtained a US$ 45 million loan - is to help "increase equitable enrolment, especially among girls and neglected groups and poor districts children."

It was further said to "improve the quality of education at basic and secondary levels, as well as strengthen the Ministry of Education's capacity to deliver education services."

The programme also was to finance the establishment of a Teacher Training and Development Unit that would help improve the quality of teachers in service while developing a master plan for teacher recruitment, training, deployment and utilisation.

About 88,000 children are to be enrolled under the program and get an opportunity for a more effective and relevant basic education. "These children will be taught by better qualified teachers, they will experience a new and modern curriculum, have more books and instructional materials and a better chance to acquire skills they can use in the labour market," said Paud Murphy of the World Bank.

The second programme to be financed - with a US$ 15 million grant - the Emergency Reconstruction Supplemental Project (ERSP), was said to "address the negative impact of the drought and prevent reversal of achievements made under the existing Emergency Reconstruction Project, approved by the Bank in November 2000."

This supplemental grant was made to help maintain the Eritrean government's development expenditures and build the resource base of poorer rural households. Funds would also be made available to "help communities regain their assets and increase incomes lost as a result of the drought."

- Mitigation of the losses associated with the drought is most appropriately financed by a grant, said Florian Fichtl of the World Bank. "Use of a credit in these circumstances would negatively affect the country's growth prospects," he added, explaining why the grant had been given.

According to the World Bank release, the combined use of seeds and fertilizer, along with other complementary inputs, "will increase production," while the rehabilitation of access roads and the maintenance of dams "will allow delivery of water to the needy and enhance irrigation capacity of rural communities."

Recurrent drought is common in Eritrea due to its relatively low rainfall and arid climatic zones, and activities under the grant was to focus primarily on those zones most affected by drought.

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