An innovative debt-swap initiative between the Russian Federation and Mozambique has unlocked a commitment of US$40 million, which will be used by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the Government of Mozambique to provide school meals for 150,000 children in Mozambique over the next five years.
In addition to providing debt relief for Mozambique, the initiative will free up new resources for development and support expansion of the Programa Nacional de Alimentação Escolar (National School Feeding Programme), which seeks to provide school meals across all primary schools in Mozambique.
The debt swap is the largest in WFP’s history.
“Russia’s innovative move to convert debt into development funding will help feed a generation of schoolchildren in Mozambique,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “We are grateful to Russia and Mozambique for their willingness to embrace new financing methods that promote government ownership and strengthen important programs, and we encourage other government donor partners to look to these new methods that can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Despite Mozambique achieving its Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry people in the country, nearly a quarter of its people face chronic food insecurity or malnourishment. Under the Mozambique Country Strategic Plan (2017-2021), WFP and its partners will work to ensure that children in chronically food-insecure areas have access to nutritious food throughout the year.