WASHINGTON, April 30, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today discussed a new four-year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Niger, focused on strengthening the foundation for business and investment growth, boosting the performance of agriculture, and renewing infrastructure and basic services. Job creation, improving access to education, and increasing opportunities for women are three key crosscutting objectives.
The Board also approved a $US50 million credit for the Second Shared Growth Credit Project, and $US30 million for the Niger Skills Development for Growth Project. Both projects support the new CPS and are financed through the International Development Association (IDA)*.
“Our new partnership strategy is a reflection of the Bank’s commitment to help Niger continue implementing its crisis recovery program and take actions to further restore growth and reduce poverty to reach the Millennium Development Goals,” said Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank Country Director for Niger. “Expanded production in the uranium and petroleum sectors, revitalization of the agricultural sector, increased public and private investment, and a broader access to education and employment skills training are essential to this recovery.”
The new-four year CPS envisages financing of approximately US$311.3 million for the first two years with total funding of approximately $US654 million.
The new strategy is aligned with the 2012 Government Plan for Social and Economic Development. The first pillar of the CPS emphasizes Niger’s competitiveness and economic diversification strategy and focuses on exploiting specific value chains to take advantage of investments in the mining and oil sector and capturing increased value added in sectors where Niger has demonstrated a comparative advantage (e.g., butchery, meat exports). The CPS’s second pillar focuses on vulnerability and how to address it through multi-sectoral interventions, including population, health and education operations.
The US$50 million Second Shared Growth Credit Project is designed to boost economic growth through improvements in the business environment and agriculture sector reforms. The project also supports key reforms to strengthen the financial management and procurement systems within the public sector.
“A more diversified economy and a strengthened agriculture sector are critical to enhancing Niger’s resilience to weather related shocks and to changes in global demand for its exports of uranium,” said Robert Johann Utz, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
“Support for a robust economy and improved agricultural production will bring food security and enhanced livelihoods to people in Niger. The strengthening of public financial management systems is critical to ensure that revenue from the oil and uranium sectors contributes effectively to the ambitious Government plans for improving public infrastructure and service delivery.”
The US$30 million Niger Skills Development for Growth Project is closely aligned with the new Country Partnership Strategy, and will bring broad support to over 10,000 young people in the country.
The project aims to make formal technical and vocational training more relevant and effective, especially in civil works and construction, meat processing, leather, and hospitality. It will also help out-of-school youth build short-term skills and get apprenticeships in both urban and rural industries.
“Our main objective is to support vulnerable young people in Niger as they strive to get better jobs and help their families out of poverty,” said Boubou Cisse, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “Building skills will also help diversify Niger’s economy and ultimately boost economic growth.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants 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 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.