WASHINGTON, September 12, 2018 – The World Bank approved the $80 million Niger Refugees and Host Communities Support Project (PARCA), which will improve access to basic services and economic opportunities for refugees and host communities in 15 communes in the Diffa, Tahoua and Tillabéri regions, and provide institutional support to local, regional and central government entities in those 3 regions, as well as the Agadez region.
“As several crises unfold in the Sahel region, Niger has been a safe haven for a significant influx of refugees. This is putting significant pressure on local communities and authorities who have hosted refugees, internally displaced and returnees. The newly available IDA resources are crucial to provide essential services and economic opportunities to forcibly displaced populations and their host communities in these already poor areas of the country,” said Soukeyna Kane, World Bank Country Director for Niger.
Niger is currently hosting over 280,000 people displaced by conflict representing approximately 158,000 refugees, 109,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and 16,000 Nigerien nationals who returned from Nigeria because of Boko Haram. PARCA will provide income support for select households and communities affected by the crisis and benefit refugees, IDPs and host communities, with a total population of over 500,000.
“UNHCR welcomes this crucial new support to move towards a socioeconomic approach of inclusion of forcibly displaced through projects jointly developed by UNHCR, the World Bank and local authorities. This new approach shows how the presence of refugees can bring development opportunities to hosting areas,” said Alessandra Morelli, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Representative in Niger.
Niger benefits from special financing mechanisms provided by the International Development Association (IDA)*: $2 billion of dedicated funding to support low-income countries hosting large numbers of refugees (refugee windows) as well as additional funding to address risk factors of fragility and violence. This represents an unprecedented opportunity to upgrade and expand the scope of the World Bank Group’s assistance to achieve its twin goals of eliminating poverty and fostering shared prosperity in a socially and environmentally sustainable way.
“The Project is crucial for the Government’s forced displacement agenda as it will provide support to all population groups residing in the Project sites irrespective of their status and focuses on enhancing people’s skills for current and future opportunities, regardless of their eventual settlement,” said Meskerem Brhane, World Bank, Practice Manager.
PARCA is one of more than 500 projects implemented under the Sahel Alliance, an initiative of partner countries and development organizations formed in July 2017. The Alliance aims to support the development efforts of the G5 Sahel countries by promoting an integrated approach to security and development, based on aid effectiveness, fast results delivery and systematic impact measurement.
* 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.