The World Bank on Monday said it would invest over $5 billion over the next five years to help restore degraded landscapes, improve agriculture productivity, and promote livelihoods in 11 African countries as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
World Bank Group President David Malpass said the investment would help improve livelihoods as those countries recovered from the outbreak and dealt with the impact of biodiversity loss and climate change through 2025.
Malpass announced the aid at the One Planet Summit, a high-level meeting co-hosted with France and the United Nations that is focused on addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.
The money will fund interventions in agriculture, water, community development, food security, resilient infrastructure, landscape restoration, and renewable energy, Malpass said.
The funds would benefit countries in the Sahel region, Lake Chad and Horn of Africa, the Bank said in a statement. The countries are Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.
Malpass said the World Bank’s PROGREEN global fund dedicated to boosting countries’ efforts to address landscape degradation would add $14.5 million for projects in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.
He said the Sahel region, in particular, was one of the most vulnerable to desertification and land degradation, with temperature increases projected to be 1.5 times faster than the global average. Eighty percent of farmlands in the region were degraded and about 30 million people food insecure, he said.
Malpass said investing in restoring the Sahel’s landscapes was crucial to mitigate these trends. COVID-19 was exacerbating poverty levels, with extreme poverty rates in the Sahel expected to increase for the first time in decades, by 1.5 percentage points on average in 2020. This translated into 1.23 million additional people who were extremely poor in the Sahel region.
In December, the Word Bank Group (WBG) approved a $1.5 billion package as part of its Country Partnership Framework (CPF) from 2021 to 2024, to help build a resilient recovery post-COVID19.
Nigeria took the center stage. The African largest economy is at a critical juncture due to plummeted oil revenue that has plunged her into her deepest recession since the 1980s.
The CPF was designed to help Nigeria and other poor African countries in their fight against poverty.
“This Country Partnership Framework will guide our engagement for the next 5 years in supporting the Government of Nigeria’s strategic priorities by taking a phased and adaptive approach,” Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank country director for Nigeria said. “Our engagement will focus on supporting Nigeria’s efforts to reduce poverty and promote sustained private sector-led growth.”
The framework is designed to focus on four key areas of engagement: investing in human capital, promoting jobs and economic transformation and diversification, enhancing resilience, and strengthening the foundations of the public sector.
In human capital, the CPF will focus on increasing access to basic education, quality water and sanitation services; improving primary healthcare; and increasing the coverage and effectiveness of social assistance programs.
In promoting jobs and economic transformation, the framework seeks to support measures to unlock private investment and job creation and increasing access to reliable and sustainable power for households and firms. It will also give attention to boosting digital infrastructure, and developing economic corridors and smart cities, to provide Nigerians with improved livelihood.
The CPF, in enhancing resilience will strengthen service delivery and livelihood opportunities in the Northeast and other regions grappling with insecurity, as well as modernizing agriculture and building climate resilience.
In the public sector, the framework will focus on improving public financial management and strengthening the social contract between citizen and government through improved fiscal and debt management.
Other African countries; Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sudan, especially in the Sahel, who fall in the CPF targeted program will receive the funding to meet the sustainable goal by 2025.
The WBG, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad and fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. It is expected to provide up to $160 billion by June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.