World Bank Mobilizes US$248 Million to Support 2 Million Pastoralists in the Sahel

May 26, 2015

Project to help boost regional cooperation in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal where pastoral activities are the main source of income


WASHINGTON, May 26, 2015. The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved today a total of US$248 million IDA  to boost regional integration and improve access to essential services, increase the income and strengthen markets for over 2 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists across six Sahelian countries.

Pastoralism is the main source of income for about 50 million pastoralists in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the Sahel, arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) represent 75% of the land area and support an estimated 20 million pastoralists.

The Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (in French: “Projet Régional d’Appui au Pastoralisme au Sahel –PRAPS”) is a six-year undertaking in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. The new project is an important step to building a solid alliance to support pastoralism by pooling the expertise and resources of various actors, including bilateral and multilateral technical and financial partners, governments, the private sector, and pastoral civil society organizations.

“Pastoralism is crucially important to the Sahel, yet it is under threat and faces many challenges including rapid population growth, conflict, animal diseases, shrinking grazing areas and water resources,” said Makhtar Diop, the World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region. “Major investments are required to improve the productivity and resilience of pastoral production systems and ensure that the economic opportunities generated by the growing demand for livestock products translate into widespread benefits for communities that depend on pastoralism for their livelihood.”

This new project will help improve productivity, sustainability, and resilience of pastoral livelihoods, as prioritized in the Nouakchott Declaration on Pastoralism, adopted on October 29, 2013 by the Governments of the six beneficiary countries, in collaboration with international and regional institutions including the World Bank, FAO, World Organization for Animal Health, Africa Union, ECOWAS, CILSS and WAEMU. The Nouakchott Declaration aims to secure the lifestyle and means of production of pastoral populations in order to increase the incomes of pastoralists.

The new project is designed to support poverty reduction and to promote shared prosperity, including for women and the youth. As stated by Christian Berger, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the PRAPS: “The proposed investments are targeting historically under-resourced marginal areas with a large share of poor households that are locked into low-asset poverty traps and vulnerable to drought. These investments are expected to promote shared prosperity by enabling households to withstand future shocks with fewer losses and to invest in human capital development.”

Specifically today’s project will focus on key areas that are hindering the ability of pastoralists to reap benefits. The financing will go towards improving access to key services such as veterinary services, water, weather data, herd and rangeland management practices, animal nutrition, market information and advisory services adapted to mobile communities to boost productivity . It will promote national and regional cooperation, particularly for disease control, natural resource management, trans-boundary movements of herds, and the facilitation of trade. Finally, it will enhance resilience to climate change, animal diseases, economic hazards, conflicts, and insecurity.

The prospects for income growth increase as pastoralists become integrated into West Africa’s increasingly dynamic regional and national livestock markets. By building on the collective action of the countries in the region, the new project will deliver a set of public goods that address the challenges and build on the opportunities created by this changing environment, including zoonotic animal diseases, shared rangelands and water resources, cross-border trade, market information, and pastoral risks, including shocks. All of these challenges and opportunities cut across national borders and have key regional dimensions that are important to address”, says Simeon Ehui, Practice Manager of the Agriculture Global Practice at the World Bank.  

The PRAPS’s implementation will be coordinated at the regional level by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) under the political leadership of ECOWAS, WAEMU, Chad and Mauritania, and alongside with the ECOWAS Regional Animal Health Center.

One positive achievement is the fact that PRAPS makes the Nouakchott Declaration operational and was prepared in a record time. Moreover, the inclusiveness during the preparatory phase and its very strong ownership by the beneficiary countries and the CILSS, and the capacity of PRAPS to leverage additional funding for pastoral development in the Sahel are key assets that are determinant for its good implementation. We remain very committed to the success of this new project”, says H.E. Djime Adoum, Executive Secretary of the CILSS.

The PRAPS is part of the Sahel Initiative, launched by the World Bank Group President --following a historic trip to the Sahel region in November 2013 by leaders of five organizations: the World Bank, the United Nations, the African Union, the African Development Bank and the European Union— to address the regional drivers of vulnerability, conflict and underdevelopment.

Financed by IDA, the WBG’s fund for the poorest countries*, Burkina Faso will receive a US$30 million credit; Mali will receive a US$45 million credit; Niger will receive a US$45 million credit; Senegal will receive a US$30 million credit; Chad will receive a US$45 million grant; Mauritania will receive a US$45 million grant; and the CILSS will receive a U$8 million grant. 

About IDA

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, 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 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people, the majority of whom live on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.

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