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World Bank gives Kenya $250 m for the poor

24 July 2013, 18:05

Nairobi - The World Bank said on Wednesday it will give Kenya $250 million over the next four years to go towards social welfare programmes to help the country's poorest citizens.

The country will be the first African country to benefit from the program which already runs in Brazil and Mexico, the bank said.

Around 38 percent of Kenya's 40 million people live in poverty, according to World Bank figures.

The grant, known as 'Program for Results', will shield the poorest and most vulnerable households from effects of crises such as drought, malnutrition, and unemployment.

"Being cushioned against devastating income losses by a small but regular transfer of money from the program helps poor people afford consistent nutrition and healthcare, and keep children in school," Diarietou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya, said in a statement.

The plan will piggyback on existing social programmes run by the government for orphans, the elderly and other vulnerable members of the society, the bank said.

Neighbouring Rwanda also runs a similar social programme.

Kenya expects to have a budget deficit of 7.9 percent of GDP, or KES 329.7 billion, in its 2013/14 fiscal year ending next June.

In recent budgets it has incorporated minimal grants from overseas as donors, concerned about allegations of corruption in government, cut back their aid.

- Reuters

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