The poverty rate in Mauritania stands at 23.4% and is combined with low human development indicators. There is limited access to basic social services (health, education) and the number of poor or vulnerable people is likely to increase given the demographic explosion, the weak economic, social and security context and climate change.
Vulnerability to shocks exposes a number of households to a transitory state of poverty. The increase in oil and food product prices in 2007 affected the food security of some 30% of the population. In addition, the drought in 2011 caused a substantial loss of livestock, which has had a lasting impact on farmers and the rural economy. In the future, droughts and flooding will occur more frequently and will be more severe, which will especially affect already vulnerable populations.
AFD, in the context of the Sahel Alliance, is working in partnership with the World Bank and DFID to provide technical and financial support to the Government of Mauritania for the implementation of a cash transfer program. In exchange for regular cash transfers over a 5-year period, poor families benefiting from the program commit to register their children in the civil registry and send them to school, provide them with adequate food and use health services. Participatory workshops are organized in communities to promote these changes in behavior. In the event of drought, the cash transfers are extended and offered to vulnerable families to prevent the loss of goods and incomes.
The project will benefit 100,000 households by the end of 2020. It combines social assistance and disaster risk reduction in order to:
- Reduce the incidence of chronic poverty, in particular in agro-pastoral communities
- Sustainably develop the country’s human capital, by investing in children and preventing the negative impact of shocks
- Strengthen national and local governance by supporting the deployment of basic services
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