World Bank Approves USD 59

World Bank Approves USD 59.7 Million Loan for Ethiopia's HIV/AIDS Programme


Addis Ababa, September 13 (WIC)—The board of Directors of the World Bank has approved a USD 59.7 Million soft loan under a Multi-country HIV/AIDS Programm (MAP) for Africa.


A press release issued by the bank today indicated that the loan will finance the Ethiopian government's 2000-2004 strategic plan, which, among others, aims at expanding and accelerating existing prevention and mitigation programs.


Life expectancy is already falling and the epidemic is systematically undermining the country's efforts to reduce poverty, it said. 


"The ultimate impact of the MAP will be to avert millions of HIV infections, alleviate suffering for tens of millions, and help preserve the development prospects of entire nations", the release quoted world Bank President James Wolfensohn as saying.


Ethiopia and Kenya are the first two countries to benefit, from the programme, and projects were approved yesterday as part of the MAP.  Kenya got a USD 50 million loan.


The loan to Ethiopia and Kenya is part of an initial USD 500 million in flexible and rapid funding over the next three years, which will consist several projects to fight the epidemic in sub-Saheran African countries.


Countries which seek to draw from the fund should meet simple eligibility criteria, including satisfactory evidence of a strategic approach to HIV/AIDS, developed in a participatory way, and establishment of a high level HIV/AIDS coordinating body.


Ethiopia has a Comprehensive HIV/AIDS policy, and has recently established a national body for HIV/AIDS prevention and control, headed by the country's President Dr. Negasso Gidada.