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“This innovative method of payment is particularly suited to households with low purchasing power,” said Alain Cordeil, WFP Country Director in Côte d’Ivoire.

“WFP increasingly delivers assistance to the hungry in the form of cash transfers in urban areas where there is food in the markets, but the poorest people just cannot afford to buy it.”

The West African nation underwent months of political upheaval and violence after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down when he lost the UN-certified election to Alassane Ouattara in November last year.

The violence ended once Mr. Gbagbo surrendered in April and Mr. Ouattara was sworn in, but the country is still recovering from the impact of the crisis, in which an estimated one million Ivorians were displaced.

A total of $1.6 million will be disbursed in the pilot project, with each household receiving $75 per month, equivalent to the food basket of an average family of five, WFP said. Beneficiaries have been given SIM cards that enabled them to receive their first transfer, and the second transfer will take place at the end of October.

“This project is ground-breaking for WFP in West Africa, as it is the first time that we use a mobile service provider as a financial partner,” said Mr. Cordeil.

WFP also noted that its emergency operation in Côte d’Ivoire, which will cost around $44 million, faces a current funding shortfall of $10.2 million.

Source: allafrica news