WASHINGTON, March 14, 2019―For a long time, Yacine Dieng used to make a decent living as a fishmonger in Bargny, Senegal. Like other members of the Lebou,
Yacine has now found a new passion: helping women from the coast get organized and lobby for solutions that can improve their lives. “The sea took the little we had. We are left with no choices, we have nowhere to go,” she explained.
Yacine’s story is one that could be repeated by thousands who live along the coast of West Africa.
Beyond the shattered lives, the harsh consequences of erosion, pollution
Titled The Cost of Coastal Zone Degradation in West Africa, the study shows staggering numbers. In 2017 alone, flooding, erosion, and pollution cost about $3.8 billion, or 5.3% of the four countries’ GDP. Moreover, coastal degradation causes more than 13,000 deaths a year, primarily due to floods, air
“For the first time, there is a consistent approach to estimating the impacts of environmental degradation in West Africa’s coastal areas,” said Benoît Bosquet, Director for Environmental and Natural Resources Global Practice at the World Bank. “The findings show the financial and social urgency to strengthen the resilience of millions of people living on the coastline. Countries need to work together to find common solutions and crowd-in the finance needed to protect their coastline and avoid future damage.”
. In Benin, a country prone to erosion, this cost was estimated at $229 million equivalent to 2.5% of the country’s GDP. These threats are aggravated by climate change which increases the vulnerability of the coastal communities.
These communities are fully affected by flooding due to extreme local rainfall and to rivers overtopping their banks and leading to major damage to assets, houses
Erosion is due to both natural and manmade factors and
Pollution is also a growing concern for many stretches of the coast. The combined effect of air pollution, lack of water supply, sanitation, and proper waste management takes an important toll on people’s health and quality of life. The cost of air, water
"The West African coastline is beautiful and has a huge tourist potential,” said Maria Sarraf, Practice Manager, Environment and Natural Resources, Africa Region, World Bank
To help countries meet these challenges and preserve their coastline, the World Bank launched in 2018, the West African Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA). The program finances interventions such as the construction of protective measures, the
The degradation of West Africa’s coasts already has dramatic significances for Yacine Dieng and many others. Investing in coastal preservation today will help them rebuild their livelihoods.