WASHINGTON, June 15, 2021—Over 8 million people in the Liptako-Gourma region, a tri-border area in the Sahel spanning Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, will benefit from a new $352.5 million project that brings new regional focus to combatting the vicious cycle of fragility that has long plagued this location — considered one of the poorest, most climate-vulnerable and marginalized places in the world. The Community-Based Recovery and Stabilization Project for the Sahel approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors will support integrated socio-economic services and infrastructure, livelihoods and territorial development, and regional data and coordination to address multidimensional and interrelated risks.
More than 80% of the over 17 million people in Liptako-Gourma live in rural areas, where access to basic services and economic opportunities are lacking, and livelihoods are concentrated around farming and herding. In recent years, an escalation of violence and conflict has threatened to destabilize the entire region and undermine development gains. Growing violence has led to an acute humanitarian, food insecurity, and forced displacement crisis, which has been exacerbated by climate change and COVID-19.
This project responds to a need for both bottom-up and regional approaches to simultaneously address emergency and climate change needs, heightened pressures from forced displacement, competition over natural resources (including land and water resources), and regional data monitoring gaps.
“This project combines regional thinking with local action,” stated Ms. Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa. “Regional dialogue among key government, humanitarian, and development actors will underpin a common policy response to shared drivers of climate vulnerability and fragility, conflict, and violence. We will then work together to deploy multi-country, community-centered development platforms designed to localize implementation while drawing on lessons from the regional dialogue.”
Investment priorities include financing livelihood restoring and climate-resilient income-generating activities, delivery of household supplies and goods, and small-scale basic infrastructure in conflict-affected communities. Communes that host a large share of the forcibly displaced will also receive special attention, with multi-sectoral investments to increase access to socio-economic infrastructure and services (particularly water and sanitation), local economic development interventions, and environmental and natural resource management. National and regional data and monitoring, as well as regional coordination and collaboration, will also be supported to pave the way for future regional programming and larger-scale investments.
“The project’s regionality, conflict-sensitive design, and integrated territorial approach complement the existing World Bank Group portfolio in Liptako-Gourma by providing a common framework for regional, national, and local stakeholders to strengthen resilience and support the humanitarian to development transition,” said Ms. Soukeyna Kane, the World Bank’s Country Director for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger said
This approach builds on the $170 million Lake Chad Recovery and Development Project (PROLAC) approved in June 2020, which is piloting a regional community-driven and regional development dialogue approach to address the dangerous hybrid of socioeconomic recession and Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) challenges in Western and Central Africa. In alignment with the World Bank Group’s strategy for FCV, the new project also targets interventions to tackle drivers of FCV and focuses on the most vulnerable populations, including the forcibly displaced.
The project’s community-centric model aims to restore the social contract between local governments and communities by ensuring local investments respond to communities’ most pressing needs and by promoting local economic development. Across the region, some 8.1 million people will benefit from project interventions, including 800,000 displaced persons. Particular focus will be on vulnerable populations in the selected intervention areas, which include women, youth, displaced persons, and people with disabilities.
* 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.