WASHINGTON, December 10, 2021 – The financing approved today by the World Bank will support Niger’s efforts to achieve a sustained and resilient economic recovery and provide its people with greater access to basic social services. These two projects will help develop human capital, reduce gender inequalities, strengthen economic governance, and increase access to reliable and affordable energy services.
Despite successive shocks, Niger continues to make significant strides in strengthening its institutions, economic governance, and demographic transition with a view to reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity. However, the country continues to face challenges with respect to improving the efficiency of public spending and the delivery of basic services, including in fragile and high-risk areas. On the energy front, Niger has one of the lowest electricity access rates (19.5% in 2020) in the world, with wide disparities between urban and rural areas and across regions. Niger is heavily dependent on imports of cheap electricity from Nigeria and on costly domestic diesel-powered electric generation for its electricity supply.
“The World Bank is providing support to the government through the implementation of reforms that will, among other things, improve public spending management and programming, address the human capital crisis that is emerging in the difficult security environment in Niger, and foster greater resilience among the populations,” said Joelle Dehasse, World Bank Country Manager for Niger. “Achieving this resilience requires more effective management of essential services such as energy and water to support economic activity, greater inclusion of marginalized groups, and ongoing improvements in their living conditions.”
One of the operations approved today, the Budget Support Program in the amount of $250 million, comprises a $125 million grant and $125 million credit. It will support reforms for the achievement of a resilient economic recovery owing to the gains made in recent years, by strengthening economic governance and human capital development and by reducing gender inequalities. This program will also support the government's response to COVID-19 and to the medium- and long-term development priorities.
The Niger Accelerating Electricity Access Project (HASKÉ) in the amount of $317.5 million will support grid electrification, solar PV powered mini grids, off-grid solar electrification of public institutions and households, and clean cooking. As a result of this financing, approximately 2.5 million persons will benefit from new or improved electricity services, 550,000 families will be able to use environmentally friendly cooking facilities, and 4,000 public institutions will have electricity by 2027. This financing is part of a 10-year and multiphase programmatic approach operation with total planned financing of over $800 million.
This support is being financed by the International Development Association (IDA)* and is in line with the main concepts set forth in the General Policy Statement of the government of Niger and the Plan for Economic and Social Development (PDES) 2017-2021.
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to 1.6 billion people. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged around $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.