World Bank approves $100 million grant to Mozambique

Mozambique will receive a $100 million grant from the World Bank to upgrade its urban infrastructure, the Washington based lender announced.

The grant is the latest investment to flow to the Southern African nation that has been struggling on two fronts. First an insurgency by Islamist groups in the northern Cabo Delgado province is soaring, then there’s also an economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic on top of lingering damage created by cyclone Idai and Kenneth that swept through the country last year killing thousands and destroying farms and property worth millions of dollars.

“This investment will ultimately contribute to harness the role of (the capital) Maputo as the country’s economic powerhouse by investing in urban infrastructure and services, while supporting critical reforms to ensure that urbanization in Maputo can contribute to economic growth, poverty reduction, and structural transformation” the World Bank’s country director for Mozambique, Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, said in a statement.

In October, the World Bank gave Mozambique an initial $100 million to help fund its coronavirus response.

In early November the European Union (EU) agreed to provide Mozambique with 100 million euros ($116.30 million) in coronavirus-related aid.

The country has so far recorded more than 16,000 positive cases of the infectious respiratory disease, with 136 deaths.

The United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP) has said at least $4.7 million per month alone was needed to assist those internally displaced by the fighting in the north.

Mozambique is also struggling with a hidden debt crisis, a consequence of entrenched corruption in governments since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

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