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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank to Help Cameroon Recover from Major Floods and Resume Rice Production

June 11, 2013

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2013 - The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$108 million IDA* grant to support the Government of Cameroon’s efforts to rehabilitate embankments, dams and irrigation systems and improve disaster-preparedness in the Far North Region of Cameroon.

 “Northern Cameroon is characterized by high poverty levels, and it is also highly vulnerable to natural disasters and climate shocks including frequent droughts and floods”, said World Bank Country Director for Cameroon Gregor Binkert. “In addition to rehabilitating damaged water infrastructure, these funds will help restore the area’s rice production and provide food and income for the farmers living in the area.”

The Maga dam – a 27 km earthen dam with a reservoir capacity of 620 million cubic meters – was significantly weakened during the 2012 floods, thereby putting at risk of potential dam failure up to 120,000 people. 25 km of the Logone dyke, which protects communities and agriculture along the banks of the Chari-Logone River from flooding, were also completely washed away in last year’s floods. The Cameroon Flood Emergency Project will therefore primarily support the rehabilitation of the Maga dam, 70km of the Logone River embankment, and related water conveyance and irrigation infrastructure. The financing will also provide institutional support for managing, maintaining and operating the hydraulic infrastructure linked to the dyke and dam.

“The Flood Emergency Project has been formulated in response to the request of the Government of Cameroon in September 2012, to address the risk of future flooding in the Far North Region” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director of Sustainable Development for the Africa Region.These funds will support the Government’s efforts to shore up its water management infrastructure and disaster risk preparedness in the North of Cameroon”.

 “The project is an emergency operation so the design is straightforward” said Task Team Leader Shelley McMillan. “In addition, the Bank team and Government of Cameroon have collaborated successfully to efficiently prepare the project and to ensure timely implementation.”  The detailed engineering studies are carried out under an ongoing Agricultural Competitiveness Project which supports several agriculture value chains including the production of rice in the North of Cameroon.  These two World Bank operations are fully complementary and help provide human safety and food security for the rural population in the Far North Region of the country.

* 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 82 poorest countries, 40 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.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2013/452/AFR