World Bank Support to Help Strengthen Kyrgyz Republic’s Social Protection System

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today $30 million for the Strengthening Social Assistance and Labor Market Programs project.  The objectives of this project are to support the country in mitigating the impact of the economic crisis on poor households and labor migrants and to strengthen effectiveness and resilience of the social assistance and labor market programs delivery systems to be better prepared for future shocks.

“High overall inflation and even higher food inflation, due to global crises, is likely to pose serious challenges for the Kyrgyz economy. The new project will directly support the priority task of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic to improve the financial situation of socially vulnerable groups and the employment of citizens, while also contributing to building stronger social protection system,” said Naveed Hassan Naqvi, World Bank Country Manager for the Kyrgyz Republic.

The project aims to protect vulnerable populations through cash transfers and accompanying measures. It will also promote economic opportunities through access to productive inclusion initiatives and job opportunities.

The project focuses on three main areas:

(i) Providing emergency support and enhancing the effectiveness of the main antipoverty Uy bulogo komok (UBK) program for families with children. The effectiveness of the UBK program will be enhanced by developing, piloting, and evaluating the improved eligibility criteria and beneficiary selection methodology for the UBK program to reduce exclusion and inclusion errors.

(ii) Increasing the employability of vulnerable groups including labor migrants by supporting the following groups: (a) UBK beneficiaries to transition from social assistance to labor and employment opportunities; (b) vulnerable youth and women to (re)enter the labor market; and (c) returning and prospective labor migrants to better identify their needs, capacities, and aspirations and facilitate tailored support.  The project will finance activities to improve the skills and employability of these groups of workers and strengthen links with the private sector to engage them in jobs and income-generating activities.

(iii) Strengthening social protection delivery systems by financing smooth and protected technical implementation of the new IT architecture and establishing electronic data exchanges to strengthen delivery systems at the local level.

The financing for the Strengthening Social Assistance and Labor Market Programs Project will be provided on highly concessional terms through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries.  The project will be implemented in the period of 2022-2025 by the Ministry of Labor, Social Development and Migration of the Kyrgyz Republic, in compliance with relevant World Bank procedures and standards, including procurement and financial management regulations and anti-corruption guidelines.

The World Bank’s overall mission in the Kyrgyz Republic is to reduce poverty and promote economic growth and shared prosperity.  The Bank’s financial assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic since 1992 amounts to $2.3 billion in the form of grants and highly concessional credits.