World Bank provides additional funds for Family Support Program, Thamarat
On 24 March, the Government of Sudan and the World Bank signed in Khartoum an agreement whereby World Bank provided additional US$420 million—$210 million in International Development Association Pre-arrears Clearance Grant and $210 million in donor contributions—for the second phase of the Sudan Family Support Programme (SFSP), the Thamarat Program. This second phase will reach around 80 per cent of households in the Sudanese states of Blue Nile, White Nile, Sennar, Central Darfur, East Darfur, North Kordofan, South Kordofan, and West Kordofan states benefitting about 13.4 million people.
“We are very pleased to continue our working partnership with the Government of Sudan in its efforts to effectively support Sudanese families. The government has demonstrated its commitment to make this program a success by mobilizing all resources available. This additional financing reaffirms the World Bank’s pledge to continue supporting the government’s commendable economic reform efforts to stabilize the economy and to re-engage with the international community,” said Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan.
The SFSP is designed to support Sudanese families affected by the ongoing economic crisis which has been compounded by the economic reforms—such as the removal of subsidies—introduced by the Transitional Government. During the High-Level Sudan Partnerships Conference held in Berlin in June 2020, $500 million of the $1.8 billion pledged to support Sudan’s Transitional Government was earmarked for the SFSP. The annual cost of the SFSP is estimated by the Government of Sudan at $1.9 billion. The program will provide $5 to each qualified person in a household initially for six months. Subject to funding availability, the transfers will be ramped up to twelve months, with the aim of eventually reaching 80 per cent of the population, or nearly 32 million Sudanese citizens.
The first phase of the program ($400 million) was launched on 24 February 2021 in Khartoum in the presence of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Approximately 11.3 million people are expected to benefit from the initial phase of the project that will be implemented in Khartoum, Red Sea, South Darfur, and Kassala states, representing 33 per cent of the total expected number of beneficiaries when the program is at full scale. As of 3 March, about 79,000 Sudanese families (close to 400,000 people) received their first-month payment through cash cards at a cost of about $1.9 million. Most beneficiaries were in Khartoum State, and the support will soon be extended to other states.
The program is being implemented by the Government of Sudan and the World Bank is providing the Government with technical support to strengthen its financial and social protection system and monitor the program’s activities to ensure effective implementation. The SFSP is financially supported by the World Bank and the Sudan Transition and Recovery Support (STARS) Multi-Donor Trust Fund that includes Canada, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Norway, State and Peace Building Trust Fund (SPF), Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Needs have grown across Sudan and are at record levels driven largely by the economic crisis with spiralling inflation, shortages of food, fuel and medicine. The number of people in need of assistance in Sudan in 2021 is the highest reported in the past decade. Humanitarian partners in Sudan estimate that about 13.4 million people—29 per cent of the population—will need humanitarian assistance throughout 2021. This is 4.1 million people more compared to 2020 and an increase of 44 per cent in the year. To meet these needs humanitarian partners have requested $1.94 billion to assist 7.3 million people in 2021, according to the Sudan 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). As of 30 March 2021, the Sudan HRP has received $140 million, 7.2 per cent of requirements, according to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS).