WFP and UNCDF partner to digitize cash-based transfers in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN – The World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) sign an agreement in an effort to scale up WFP’s assistance to support the local economy in Sierra Leone through innovative cash-based transfers. The partnership will enable WFP to build a robust system for delivering cash transfers to the most vulnerable households.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) are collaborating to deliver greater accountability, efficiency and cost-savings for WFP’s food assistance in Sierra Leone. Through expanding the use of digital cash transfers, this partnership will result in greater transparency and financial inclusion for the people WFP serves.

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Photo credit: Olivia Acland/WFP

During the Ebola crisis, UNCDF provided vital support to facilitate cash transfers to the emergency response workers.

“Building on UNCDF’s technical expertise digitizing financial services and capitalizing on Sierra Leone’s increasing mobile network coverage, this partnership will enable WFP to develop a more robust cash-based transfer system and ensure that the most food insecure and vulnerable households gain access to financial services that expand opportunities and reduce vulnerabilities,”

said Peter Scott-Bowden, WFP Representative in Sierra Leone.

According to the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Sunil Saigal,

“This partnership signed between WFP and UNCDF clearly demonstrates that by working together, UN agencies can deliver greater results for the people of Sierra Leone.”

WFP and the Government of Sierra Leone are both members of the Better Than Cash Alliance, a partnership of governments, companies, and international organizations that work together to accelerate the transition from cash to digital payments to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth.

According to Tenzin Keyzom Ngodup, UNCDF West Africa,

“Working with WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian agency, UNCDF will support WFP to push cash into the formal financial system, thereby creating a business case for the private sector in Sierra Leone. Cash transfers will facilitate the expansion of the financial ecosystem and deliver services outside of the country’s urban centers to reach food insecure communities in rural areas.”

WFP aims improve food security and strengthen livelihoods and resilience of over 200,000 vulnerable households through cash-based transfers.

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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

Follow us on Twitter: @WFP_WAfrica, @wfp_media

UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 LDCs. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. This last mile is where available resources for development are scarcest; where market failtures are most pronounced; and where benefits from national growth tend to leave people excluded.

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For more information please contact:
Jordan Sisson, WFP/Sierra Leone, jordan.sisson@wfp.org
Tenzin Ngodup, UNCDF/Sierra Leone, tenzin.ngodup@uncdf.org