World Bank Strengthens Resilience, Livelihoods In Lake Chad Region With $346m


BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI – Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad region are to benefit from the World Bank recently approved $346 million aimed at strengthening resilience and livelihoods within the region ravaged by insurgency and climate change.

The amount covers two operations by the Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) financing in the region shared by Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.

Overall, the Lake Chad region suffers from poor development and economic indicators compared to the averages in the four countries.

World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Africa, Deborah Wetzel, says; “The Lake Chad region remains a priority area of engagement given the common nature of the challenges faced by the sub-region and the huge potential for regional cooperation.”

According to the World Bank, there are significant gaps in infrastructure, access to basic services is poor, and natural resources and livelihoods are severely impacted by climate change.

It further noted that the situation is exacerbated by insecurity prevailing since 2009 due to insurgent activities that prevents more than 49 million people from attaining their livelihoods in fishing, livestock farming and agriculture.

The Bank said the two newly approved operations focus on enhancing regional collaboration among the four countries to support communities close to the shore of Lake Chad areas and to improve the living conditions of the population, including vulnerable women and youth who face the negative impacts of climate change and suffer from insecurity.

The first project, the Lake Chad Region Recovery and Development Project (PROLAC, $170 million), will support national and regional coordination platforms and local capacity building, contribute to restore sustainable rural mobility and connectivity and strengthen the recovery of agricultural livelihoods in selected provinces of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.

Furthermore, it will promote knowledge sharing and regional dialogue with a data platform hosted at the Lake Chad Basin Commission, while strengthening community empowerment through citizen engagement, social cohesion activities and labour-intensive public works.

The World Bank explained that PROLAC will contribute to the rehabilitation of rural roads and small transport infrastructure, and will promote productive investments by helping agricultural producers to increase productivity in the polder areas in Chad, the farming of oasis areas in Niger, and in the areas close to the shore of the Lake Chad in the Far North of Cameroon.

The second project, the Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project for North Eastern Nigeria, Additional Financing (MCRP AF, $176 million), will help the Government of Nigeria to improve access to basic services and livelihood opportunities for crisis-affected communities in the North Eastern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, while enhancing coordination among these States and other Lake Chad countries.

It expands the ongoing $200 million MCRP project and puts an increased emphasis on support for agricultural livelihoods and investments.

In addition, the MCRP AF will include support for labor-intensive approaches and works programs, promote rural and regional connectivity, rehabilitate market infrastructure and prioritize climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The project will also expand its education and health activities to include a focus on service delivery by providing grants to school committees and incentives to returning teachers, and by promoting quality of primary health care services in targeted public health centers and district hospitals.

“The Lake Chad region remains a priority area of engagement given the common nature of the challenges faced by the sub-region and the huge potential for regional cooperation”, says Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Africa.

“The framework being created by both PROLAC and the MCRP AF will lay the foundation for future regional and coordinated investments that will improve access to regional markets, promote value-chains development and revive cross-border and regional trade”.

Both PROLAC and the MCRP are well aligned with existing regional and national strategies, including (i) the World Bank’s Regional Integration and Cooperation Assistance Strategy which promotes collective actions to address the risks of regional economic contagion, fragility, epidemic and climate hot spots; (ii) the World Bank’s Strategy for Fragility, Conflict and Violence; and with (iii) the Country Partnership Frameworks for Cameroon, Chad and Niger, and the Country Partnership Strategy for Nigeria.

Established in 1960, the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries.

Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.

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