WASHINGTON, March 16, 2018—The World Bank approved a $27.8 million project for the Economic and Environmental Rehabilitation of the Niger River (PREEFN), consisting of $13.9 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit and a $13.9 million IDA grant.
The Niger River (4,200 km long) is the third longest river in Africa and the largest in West Africa. The Niger Inner Delta (NID) is in Mali, between the Markala dam (Ségou region) and the region of Timbuktu, it provides numerous benefits such as transportation for many people, access for the goods produced locally and water access. The project will benefit transport operators, village groups, farmers, fishers, youth organizations, women, and vulnerable populations in three main localities in the NID — Kolongo, Kokry and Macina—with approximately a total population of about 100,000.
“PREEFN is an important World Bank milestone as it contributes to the implementation of the Africa Climate Business Plan which was presented at COP21 in November 2015 in Paris,” said Benoît Bosquet, World Bank Practice Manager for Environment and Natural Resources for West and Central Africa.
The project will address the challenge of food security and poverty reduction while increasing the resilience to climate change and decreasing competition over river resources. It will promote sustainable management of transportation and water access. It will also contribute to achieving the main objectives of the Country Partnership Framework by creating economic opportunities for women and young people and by combating poverty and food insecurity.
“The rehabilitation of the Niger River has been identified as a priority for the Malian Government and is an integral part of the National Program for the Protection of the Niger River adopted by the Government in 2016. PREEFN will then contribute to the effectiveness of navigation and improved port services along the Niger River and demonstrate the feasibility of environmental restoration and livelihood improvement activities in one of the most fragile ecosystem in Mali,” said Soukeyna Kane, World Bank Country Director for Mali.
The project will undertake targeted dredging of sandbars and help rehabilitate ports in Macina (Segou region) and Diafarabé (Mopti region) to ensure better exchanges involving regular and quick trips between areas of production and consumption of goods.
“Environmental restoration of Niger river combined with transport improvement will contribute to improved livelihoods of those communities that depend on the River,” said Hocine Chalal, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
PREEFN was designed through a participatory approach that included consultations with members of civil society, local authorities and decentralized technical departments in the areas where prospective investments will be carried out. Particular emphasis was placed on identifying opportunities for the more fragile segments of the population, such as women and youth.
* 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 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.