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Disability in Africa Region

Map: Africa Region

The World Bank's work in more than one hundred countries is challenging. But its mission is simple: to reduce poverty. Over the past 20 years the Bank's focus has changed and so has its approach. It is now addressing newer issues like gender, community-driven development, indigenous peoples and disability.

By reframing its mandate as "poverty alleviation," the Bank seeks to distribute the benefits of growth and opportunities for participation to the most marginalized sectors of a society’s population. Some of these are defined by geography, such as rural and often indigenous peoples, others by gender or ethnicity, and by disability.

In the World Bank Brief on Sub-Saharan Africa it is stated that looking at the solely at the campaign for poverty reduction: "Sub-Saharan Africa is the most important development challenge of the 21st century". In a region facing unique challenges in fighting poverty, people with disabilities will automatically be disproportionately represented. Their numbers are rising due to conflict, malnutrition, natural disasters and HIV/AIDS. With disabled people invisible in development initiatives, hundreds of thousands of people who see themselves as potential and willing contributors to family and national economic activities are instead relegated to the margins of society where they are a perceived as being a burden. The result can be devastating, both to the individual and to the economy. Despite the importance of including disabled people in poverty alleviation initiatives across the regions, not much information is to be found about this issue.  As a contribution to ameliorating the lack of information about disability and poverty in, among others, the Africa region a series of country studies on the situation of disabled people has been initiated. Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the first countries to undergo such studies.

Publications and Reports

World Bank

Non-World Bank

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Projects and Initiatives

World Bank

  • ERITREA: Integrated Early Childhood Development Project
    [Project ID: P068463 - Project Status: Closed]
    The Integrated Early Childhood Development Project for Eritrea promotes the healthy growth and holistic development of Eritrean children. The project expands access to and improves the quality of services that address young children's basic needs. There are five project components. The first improves child health by providing on-the-job and pre-service training to health workers and caregivers; financing drugs, medical equipment, and supplies and strengthening procurement, storage, and distribut...
  • MALAWI: Second Social Action Fund
    [Project ID: P049599 - Project Status: Closed]
    The Second Social Action Fund Project for Malawi aims to a) address the need for socio-economic infrastructure development in rural and urban areas; b) support safety net programs by creating temporary employment for the very poor and financing initiatives to assist the most vulnerable groups such as orphans, street children, persons with disabilities, the aged and those affected by Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); and c) enhance in-country capacity to identify, prioritize, and...
  • GAMBIA: Third Education
    [Project ID: P035643 - Project Status: Closed]
    The Third Education Sector Program Project will support the implementation of the second half of the Government's Education Sector Policy Framework, 1998-2005. First, the basic education expansion program will a) better use existing facilities by expanding double-shift and multi-grade teaching; b) construct and rehabilitate classrooms; c) provide trained teachers; d) increase enrollment in the poor areas; and e) improve services for the disabled. Second, the girls' education program will lower...
  • Disability and Development: A South African Story (2003)
    Feature Story on the World Bank's Disability and Development Advisor, Judith Heumann's visit to Southern and East Africa.

Non-World Bank

  • African Decade of Disabled Persons (2000-2009)
    The Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SADPD) offices opened in Cape Town in 2004 and since its inception rapid progress has been made. With the support of Sida (Sweden), the offices were equipped, staff hired, and the first major initiatives were undertaken. In 2005 the DSI (Denmark) came on board as an additional donor, and work started in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Senegal.
    Arrow United Nations Enable - Regional Observances: African Decade of Disabled Persons
  • Angola Signs Accord to Assist Disabled Ex-Combatants (2006)
    News from Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP) - On March 9, 2006, the Institute of Socio-Professional Reintegration of Ex-Combatants (IRSEM, from the Portuguese) – the implementation body for the Angola Demobilization and Reintegration Program (ADRP) – and the National Program on Rehabilitation of Physically Disabled People (PNRPPD) signed a cooperation framework agreement that will facilitate rehabilitation of disabled ex-combatants

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Country Profiles

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has developed several country profiles on disability. Within the East Asia and the Pacific Region such studies have been carried out in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  © JICA holds all copyrights on these profiles and they are provided here in link format only.

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Related Links

National Disability Organizations

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International Organizations

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Last updated: 2011-06-22




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