The World Bank Board of Directors approved a new US$ 300 million operation to support Argentina’s efforts to strengthen its social protection system and minimize the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable families.
The additional US$300 million in financing for the “Children and Youth Protection Project” seeks to improve coverage of family allowance programs administered by the National Social Security Administration (ANSES) and to accelerate the process to include 350,000 children who are still not covered by the Universal Child Allowance (AUH). It will also support the introduction of improvements in ANSES processes to guarantee continued coverage, especially when a parent loses a formal job.
“We appreciate the support of the World Bank in one of the topics on the agenda of the national government’s strategic priorities, which is to accompany those who have the least. This project advances in that direction,”. said Gustavo Beliz, Argentina’s Strategic Planning Secretary.
“Argentina is struggling with Covid 19, which creates new public investment demands. In response to this difficult health and financial situation, the World Bank is supporting investments to protect the most vulnerable population,” said Jordan Schwartz, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
“This financing aims to make the social protection system more inclusive and effective, and to prevent families from slipping into poverty, or assisting them once that has occurred.”
The World Bank has supported the AUH program since it was first implemented in 2009. The program forms part of the broader ANSES family allowance system. This benefit is paid for each child under age 18 whose parents are unemployed or informally employed, or who are independent workers or domestic workers and who earn less than the minimum wage.
Currently, more than four million children receive the AUH benefit and nearly nine million are covered by the group of family allowances. Participation in the program has increased beneficiaries’ school attendance and fulfillment of medical checkups.
Since 2016, the “Children and Youth Protection Project” has successfully contributed to closing AUH coverage gaps. Initially, over 1.5 million children could not be included in the eligibility process of ANSES programs – today the challenge is to include the 350,000 remaining children.
The additional project financing is a variable-spread loan with a 32-year maturity period and a seven-year grace period.