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PRESS RELEASEJanuary 18, 2024

Promoting Sustainable Development to Tackle Climate Change in the Senegal River Valley

SAINT-LOUIS, January 18, 2024 – A high-level regional forum was held today in Saint-Louis, Senegal to discuss sustainable development challenges and strategies, as well as climate change adaptation in the Senegal River Valley (SRV). Communities in the Valley have in recent years been adversely impacted by the effects of climate change, which are disrupting the region’s economy, degrading the livelihoods of the communities, and impacting their food security.

For Mansour Faye, the mayor of Saint-Louis and Senegal’s Minister of Infrastructure, Land Transport, and Improved Accessibility, Holding this forum in our beloved city of Saint-Louis is a seminal moment that has paved the way for more in-depth discussions on the numerous environmental challenges and opportunities and on the wealth of resources in this Senegal River Valley.

Participants discussed the effects of climate change on ecosystems, human capital, the demographic transition and migration, as well as adaptation measures and sustainable development strategies that take into account the Valley’s human and natural assets. As Mamadou Moustapha Ba, Senegal’s Minister of Finance and Budget, put it: “Our current development ambitions for the Senegal River Valley can only be realized by managing the impacts of climate change, the effects of which have begun to disrupt the economy around the river. The joint planning of adaptation measures should therefore be considered as soon as possible.” 

The importance of a regional approach to finding solutions was underscored. “The only sustainable solution lies in establishing cross-border management underpinned by the principles of equity and mutual support. In Mauritania, as is the case in all OMVS [Organization for the Development of the Senegal River] member countries, we have opted to pursue the path of development, equitable sharing, and mutual support to save our region from the harmful effects of climate change,” said Ismail Ould Abdel Vettah, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The Senegal River Valley has vast resources and offers significant opportunities that can be exploited to ensure its sustainable development. Improved local planning, the promotion of sustainable agricultural development and adaptation of productive assets to climate change, integrated natural resource management, and the optimization of agricultural value chains were the solutions selected.  

In this context, the potential for private sector development is huge. As Makhtar Diop, Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, noted: “In order to develop the Valley’s human and land capital, private investments that bring jobs and innovative projects adapted to the new climate situation must be encouraged. Attracting these investments requires efforts to de-risk financing of small and medium enterprises and address weaknesses in agricultural value chains. This is the purpose of IFC’s work with its local partners.”

Actions supported by the World Bank and other partners are under way in the Valley and are yielding encouraging results. However, “the urgency of climate change forces us to do more and go further, with increased investments to strengthen the Valley’s resilience to climate change and accelerate its transformation,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa.

The broad outline of a new regional operation that was first initiated with the governments of Mauritania and Senegal was discussed. The Senegal River Valley Development and Resilience Project to which the World Bank will contribute $195 million will help address the many climate challenges affecting communities on both sides of the Valley and hindering the region’s socioeconomic development. “The aims of this new project include major transformations and sustainable solutions in several sectors, including agriculture, livestock production, and the creation of jobs for young people,” Mr. Diagana added. “It will support integrated territorial development with a view to building the resilience of the communities and promoting livelihoods and economic opportunities in the Valley.”

The Senegal River Valley Development and Resilience Project will be presented to the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on February 13, 2024.



In Dakar:
Seydina Alioune Djigo,
+221 774 426 670
In Nouakchott:
Loana Billeux,
+222 45 25 10 17


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