KINSHASA (Reuters) – The World Bank said on Tuesday it had approved $1 billion in funding for Democratic Republic of Congo’s education and health systems that have been weakened by years of under-funding, conflict and mismanagement.
The financing comprises $800 million to support free primary school education and $200 million to improve maternal and child health.
“This funding is all the more important because it will help alleviate the economic and social consequences of the coronavirus affecting the poorest,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank country director.
The funding includes $435 million in grants and $565 million in credit.
Congo has had 4,974 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 112 deaths and the outbreak has added to the strain on the country’s fragile health and education systems.
After taking office in January 2019, President Felix Tshisekedi had vowed to make universal free education one of his priorities, but development agencies say there has been little sign of progress.
(Reporting by Stanis Bujakera; writing by Hereward Holland; editing by Barbara Lewis)