By: Samuel Orumade
The World Bank will invest over $5 billion over the next five years to assist nations in the Sahel region, David Malpass, the bank’s president disclosed on Monday.
It is to restore degraded lands, improve agricultural productivity and promote livelihoods in affected countries along the region.
He said the support would be coming to 11 African nations threatened by desertification from Senegal to Djibouti. Nigeria is currently implementing the restoration of drylands programme through the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW).
Speaking at the One Planet Summit jointly organised by France and the United Nations, part of the vision is to prevent the total collapse of natural biodiversity that provides food, water, clean air and the rest for human survival.
Aside, the high-level meeting is focused on addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.
“This investment, which comes at a crucial time, will help improve livelihoods as countries recover from COVID-19 while also dealing with the impact of both biodiversity loss and climate change on their people and economies,” said Malpass.
In a statement issued by the bank, the more than $5 billion in financing would support agriculture, biodiversity, community development, food security, landscape restoration, job creation, resilient infrastructure, rural mobility, and access to renewable energy across 11 countries of the Sahel, Lake Chad and Horn of Africa.
“Many of these efforts are in line with the Great Green Wall initiative. This builds on World Bank landscape investments in these countries over the past eight years that reached more than 19 million people and placed 1.6 million hectares under sustainable land management.”
“Restoring natural ecosystems in the drylands of Africa benefits both people and the planet,” Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission added.
Working with many partners, PROGREEN, a World Bank global fund dedicated to boosting countries’ efforts to address landscape degradation, would also invest $14.5 million in five Sahelian countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania.
The World Bank Group is the biggest multilateral funder of climate investments in developing countries.
In December 2020, the World Bank Group announced an ambitious new target for 35% of its financing to have climate co-benefits, on average, over the next five years.