WASHINGTON, USA – The Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) has announced a US$31.5 million grant as budget support for Colombia’s efforts to facilitate access to jobs and essential social services for Venezuelan migrants and refugees, as well as the communities that are hosting them.
“Colombia is grateful to the GCFF members for their valuable assistance,” said Alberto Carrasquilla, Colombia’s minister of finance. “These non-reimbursable resources will help finance the significant fiscal effort Colombia is making to host and help the Venezuelan migrants in the best way possible.”
This concessional funding will be part of a US$750 million development policy operation being prepared by the World Bank to support Colombia’s fiscal sustainability, competitiveness and migration. Specific policy measures include efforts to regularise the status of over 260,000 migrants. GCFF funding for Colombia would support policies and programs aimed at improving the lives of migrants and refugees who have come to Colombia and the communities hosting them throughout the country.
About 3.7 million people have left Venezuela in recent years, and more than 1.2 million migrants and refugees from Venezuela are now living in Colombia. This influx of migrants and refugees to Colombia has put a severe strain on the country’s economy and social services such as health care. The annual cost of hosting the migrants, not including infrastructure and facilities, is currently estimated at around 0.4 percent of GDP.
“The massive and rapid migration from Venezuela presents an unprecedented humanitarian and development challenge for the region today. It affects not only the migrants forced to leave their homes, but the communities that are generously hosting them,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We need to act now to ensure that the migrants from Venezuela and their hosts get the support they need.”
The World Bank Group has a long history of working to help countries and regions affected by forced displacement and migration. GCFF support is part of the package of measures the World Bank Group is providing across the region to help countries respond to this massive influx of migrants and to complement the work being done by governments, civil society and other partners.
The GCFF was launched in 2016 by the World Bank, the United Nations and the Islamic Development Bank as a global platform to provide concessional funding to middle-income countries delivering a global public good by hosting large numbers of refugees. To date, the GCFF has been used to help Jordan and Lebanon address the influx of Syrian refugees. In two years, the Facility has approved US$500 million in grants, which, due to the leveraging factor of the Facility, has unlocked more than US$2.5 billion in concessional financing for development projects aiming to improve the lives of refugees and their host communities.
The funding mobilised for Colombia through the GCFF includes contributions from Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. Globally, the GCFF is supported by Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.