The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved financing of US$500 million aimed at supporting the Colombian government’s strategy for the social and economic integration of Venezuelan migrants in that country.
This is the first Development Policy Financing (DPF) from the World Bank centered exclusively on cross-border migration, focused both on the integration of the vulnerable migrant population as well as the host areas.
The financing will include an additional US$26.4 million from the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF).
The operation seeks to strengthen the legal and institutional basis for the medium and long term integration of migrants in Colombia— which hosts the second largest number of vulnerable migrants in the world— by supporting the implementation of public policies that are key to the social and economic integration of this population, especially the launch of the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Venezuelan migrants.
Alejandra Botero Barco, Director of the National Planning Department, said: “This operation is very important for Colombia, as it will allow the national government to guarantee the resources needed to provide continuity to its strategies in terms of recovery and equitable and inclusive economic growth. Moreover, it reinforces the support of the World Bank for the government’s efforts to move forward with the protection and social inclusion of the migrant population in a way that allows them to take part in productive activities and the State’s social welfare offerings which, in turn, will advance the country’s prosperity.”
The operation will support the TPS, the Colombian government’s migration policy mechanism that enables the regularization of migrants and their integration into society, while also offering them a path to education, health and a formal job. This includes the regularization of more than 1.74 million Venezuelans under this status and the integration of 700,000 into the General System of Social Security in Health.
Additionally, the project will support the vaccination of more than one million Venezuelans, as well as access to rent subsidies to improve housing conditions in the main host areas.
The project also seeks to strengthen coordination mechanisms at the national and subnational level to address the needs of the migrant population and reduce their vulnerabilities. It also includes measures to aid the most vulnerable migrants, such as the indigenous population, the transsexual population and minors.
Mark R. Thomas, World Bank Country Director for Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, said: “Colombia is a global example in terms of its response to Venezuelan migration, providing truly innovative solutions that allow for the integration of Venezuelan children, youth, women and men. This approach is the most adequate from a development perspective, as the integration of this population can benefit the country’s growth. As well as being a great development opportunity for the country, this project will contribute to an improvement in the quality of life of both Venezuelan migrants and host communities.”
Since the start of the Venezuelan exodus in 2015, the World Bank has mobilized its global experience to support host countries in the process of integrating this migrant population. Colombia has worked on this integration with the idea that an adequately managed migration process is a development opportunity for the country.
Because of this, the World Bank reiterates its support and commitment to Colombia in the implementation of policies that provide opportunities to the migrant and host populations.
The National Planning Department (DNP), with the support of the Border Management Division at the Office of the President of the Republic, Migracion Colombia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be responsible for coordinating the actions needed to implement this project.