“The Council of Ministers adopted an ambitious regional investment program, the Priority Investment Program (PIP), estimated at 14.8 billion dollars,” says Amadou Boubacar Cisse, Niger’s Minister of State for Planning, Regional Development, and Community Development. “It will be implemented in five countries with the aim of providing a range of actions and activities that will help effectively deal with security and development challenges in the Sahel.”
During the discussions, donors expressed their support for the PIP and provided guidance to further improve the framework. In order to better streamline funding, donors recommended reviewing the projects that are already being funded or anticipate receiving funding through regional or country programs to ensure that there are more synergies with national programs funded outside the PIP framework.
The ministerial meeting was also an opportunity for the World Bank delegation to update ministers on the range of projects that are currently underway in the region and which are scaling up needs in areas such as energy production, social protection, water resources, women’s empowerment, and drought resilience.
“Ministers of the Sahel G5 countries welcomed the presentation and are looking to receive additional financing from the World Bank in order to launch transformative infrastructure projects such as new railways between Niger and Burkina, or between Mauritania and Mali, all of which are being considered,” explains Paul Noumba Um, the World Bank Country Director for Mali, Niger and Chad.
In addition to infrastructure projects, the World Bank delegation raised the issue of displaced people in the Sahel, suggesting a potential regional program to improve the conditions of those uprooted by conflict.
Another outcome of the meeting was a decision to extend a technical assistance program that will establish a Sahel G5 secretariat in Niamey. This light structure will include an Executive Permanent Secretary, appointed by Niger, and several technical experts. The World Bank agreed to mobilize technical assistance primarily through trust funds to support the secretariat in its efforts to quickly finalize the preparation of the Priority Investment Program.
The next Sahel G5 meeting will be called as soon as the PIP and its accompanying strategy document are finalized. A meeting with the heads of state of the Sahel G5 will be convened in Ndjamena later in the year.
The Sahel G5 was established in February 2014 in Nouakchott by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger with the aim of fostering economic development in the Sahel through an effective cooperation on security, economic resilience, infrastructure development, and management of water resources.