The World Bank said 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 US$800M to support free primary school education and US$200M 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 US$435M in grants and US$565M 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.