WASHINGTON, DC, 13 January 2021 – The World Bank Group (WBG) will invest $5 billion in 11 African countries over the next five years in support of climate resilient development.
Under the investment, the WBG will improve livelihoods, agricultural productivity and food seucurity across the Sahel, where over 17 million people are food insecure.
It will restore degraded landscapes, improve biodiversity, foster community development, and create jobs.
The investment will help build climate-resilient infrastructure that advances rural mobility and expands access to renewable energy.
Among others, the projects will restore degraded lands to productivity by protecting watersheds, replenishing dried up water sources, harvesting rain water and saving existing waters in a region where rivers are few and far between.
The proejcts benefiting from this investment will fall across the Sahel region, the Lake Chad basin and the Horn of Africa sub-regions.
The geographic location of the investments covers a swathe of land stretching from Senegal, in the far west, to Djibouti in the far east of the continent.
World Bank Group President David Malpass made the announcement Monday at the One Planet Summit, co-hosted with France and the United Nations.
The summit is focused on tackling climate change and addressing biodiversity loss.
The investment by the World Bank will also support efforts under the so-called Great Green Wall initiative.
The Great Green Wall “aims to restore 100 million hectares of land and create 10 million green jobs by 2030”, Simeon Ehui wrote Wednesday on a World Bank blog.
It is financed by over $1 billion from the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility and represents a dream of stopping the advance further south of the Sahara Desert.
The $5 billion new investment will build on the successes of the Great Green Wall which was launched in 2012 and is credibted, by the WBG, with bringing “1.6 million hectares under sustainable land management”.
It will also build on the $14.5 million investment by the WBG in five Sahalien countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania – to arest and, where possible, reverse landscape degradation.
The over 60 projects envisaged under this investment, the WBG will assist farmers in the fight against erosion, strengthen land tenure laws and help farmers across Africa prepare for and better protect against natural disasters.
Writing on a World Bank Blog Wednesday, Simeon Ehui said the global financier’s investments in the 11 countries over the last eight years have benefited more than 19 million people as well as placed 1.6 million hectares of land under sustainable land management.
The $5 billion investment announced Monday comes at a timely moment.
Development experts speculate that it could have a huge impact in improving livelihoods, especially as all of the 11 countries have seen their fiscal space shrink even as they must invest in the wake of COVID-19 to restore their economies.
Around 80 percent of farmlands have lost some degree of natural productivity across the Sahel, Lake Chad basin and Horn of Africa sub-regions targeted by this new investment.
In the Sahel the challenge is made worse by the fact that temperatures are increasing 1.5 times faster there than the global average, according Simeon Ehui’s blogpost Wednesday on the World Bank website.