WASHINGTON, March 21, 2014 –The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a grant for a total of US$70 million from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help Niger improve the country’s business environment for investment and trade, increase agricultural productivity, and improve its public financial management. The Niger Third Shared Growth Grant (SGG-3) is the latest in a series of policy operations aimed at supporting the implementation of Niger’s national poverty reduction strategy. The large landlocked country has a poverty rate of 48.2%, making it one of the world’s poorest countries.
The SGG-3 will continue building on the reforms undertaken by Niger’s government in the first two policy operations. All 12 policy actions recommended in the second policy operation (Shared Growth Credit 2) were adopted by the government.
“The fact that they accepted and completed all 12 recommendations demonstrates Niger’s remarkable commitment to economic reform”, said Johannes Herderschee, the program task team leader and Senior Economist at the World Bank. These include a public procurement law and related regulations which will help strengthen the effectiveness of the State. “This law and regulations will reduce the cost at which Niger purchases goods and services,” he said. Putting in place a stronger public financial management system will in turn help increase the effectiveness of public service delivery.
The program also aims to reinforce food security and promote sustainable agricultural development in the large country prone to droughts and floods, which contribute to chronic food insecurity.
“A more diversified economy grounded by a robust agriculture sector will help enhance Niger’s resilience to external shocks,” said Nestor Coffi, World Bank Country Manager for Niger. “By investing in this sector, you reach the greatest population in extreme poverty, and improve living conditions for the poor in Niger” he said.