The World Bank has approved two operations totalling $346 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing to help strengthen resilience and livelihoods in the Lake Chad region.
The bank made this known in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the fund would be shared among Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
It explained that overall, the Lake Chad region suffered from poor development and economic indicators compared to the averages in the four countries.
It said there were significant gaps in infrastructure, access to basic services was poor, and natural resources and livelihoods were severely impacted by climate change and the situation was exacerbated by insecurity prevailing since 2009.
According to the bank, this is due to insurgent activities that prevented more than 49 million people from attaining their livelihoods in fishing, livestock farming and agriculture.
The bank said that the two newly approved operations focused on enhancing regional collaboration among the four countries to support communities close to the shore of Lake Chad areas.
It said the operations would also improve the living conditions of the population, including vulnerable women and youth who were being faced with the negative impacts of climate change and suffer from insecurity.
“The first project, the Lake Chad Region Recovery and Development Project (PROLAC, 170 million dollars), will support national and regional coordination platforms and local capacity building.
“It will contribute to restoring sustainable rural mobility, connectivity and strengthen the recovery of agricultural livelihoods in selected provinces of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
“It will also promote knowledge sharing and regional dialogue with a data platform hosted at the Lake Chad Basin Commission, while strengthening community empowerment through citizen engagement, social cohesion activities and labour-intensive public works.
“PROLAC will contribute to the rehabilitation of rural roads and small transport infrastructure, and will promote productive investments by helping agricultural producers to increase productivity in the polder areas in Chad, the farming of oasis areas in Niger, and in the areas close to the shore of the Lake Chad in the Far North of Cameroon.
“The second project, the Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project for North Eastern Nigeria, Additional Financing (MCRP AF, 176 million dollars), will help the Government of Nigeria to improve access to basic services and livelihood opportunities for crisis-affected communities in the North Eastern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
“While enhancing coordination among these States and other Lake Chad countries.
“It expands the ongoing 200 million dollars MCRP project and puts an increased emphasis on support for agricultural livelihoods and investments.
“In addition, the MCRP AF will include support for labor-intensive approaches and works programs, promote rural and regional connectivity, rehabilitate market infrastructure and prioritize climate change adaptation and mitigation,” World Bank explained.
The bank, however, noted that the project would also expand its education and health activities to include a focus on service delivery.
This, the bank said, it would do by providing grants to schools’ committees and incentives to returning teachers, and by promoting quality of primary health care services in targeted public health centres and district hospitals.
It emphasised that the Lake Chad region remained a priority area of engagement given the common nature of the challenges faced by the sub-region and the huge potential for regional cooperation.