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World Bank Boosts Climate and Community Resilience in the Senegal River Valley

  • World Bank Boosts Climate and Community Resilience in the Senegal River Valley

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The World Bank
The World Bank Group has two goals, to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable way

The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a significant initiative aimed at addressing urgent challenges in the Senegal River Valley (SRV), an area vital for local economies and residents that is increasingly at risk due to escalating threats from climate change.

The Senegal River Valley Development and Resilience project (SRVDRP), funded with $195 million from the International Development Association (IDA)*, will help the approximately 2.9 million people in Mauritania and Senegal who live along the river valley, including women, youth, and other stakeholders. The project aims to improve access to regionally integrated, climate resilient, and inclusive infrastructure and services in targeted border communities.   

Despite boasting the bulk of irrigated land in Mauritania (90 percent) and Senegal (80 percent), communities on both sides of the river remain poor and vulnerable. Cities in the region lack basic infrastructure and services, and increasingly face climate-related issues: rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, droughts, floods, sea level rise, soil and water salinization, desertification, and land degradation.

The project aims to improve access to regionally integrated, climate resilient, and inclusive infrastructure and services in targeted border communities.   

"By investing in community resilience, connectivity, and local economic development, the new SRV project will help create quality jobs and will bring substantial transformation to this crucial border region,” said Chakib Jenane, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development for Western and Central Africa. “Through collaborative efforts, it will empower local stakeholders to navigate the complexities of climate change and foster inclusive development in the SRV."

During a regional forum in Saint-Louis, Senegal, this January, Senegalese Minister of Economy and Budget, Mamadou Moustapha Ba, emphasized the need to address climate impacts to realize the area’s potential, saying: “Our ambitions for the Senegal River Valley can only be achieved by managing the impacts of climate change, the effects of which have begun to disrupt the economy around the river”. The new SRVDRP thus plans to tackle these issues by investing in community infrastructures, improving irrigation infrastructure, helping farmers adjust to changing rainfall patterns, introducing climate-resilient crops, and increasing agricultural productivity. Additionally, the project aims to protect biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Communities and institutions will benefit from capacity-building and knowledge-sharing initiatives to help them better understand and respond to climate change impacts.

SRVDRP underscores World Bank’s commitment to promoting regional integration by building resilience and sustainable livelihoods for border communities. “The regional integration approach adopted by the project is key to help the border communities overcome obstacles that impede the flow of people, goods, services, capital, and ideas,” said Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank’s Director for Regional Integration for Africa and the Middle East. “The project will strategically integrate infrastructure and services in a cross-border territory to develop social cohesion and inclusion to reduce climate risks, social and cultural exchanges, limit cross-border economic and social imbalances, and improve economic prosperity.”

Such an approach responds to the countries’ aspirations, as indicated by Ismail Ould Abdel Vettah, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation of Mauritania: “The only sustainable solution lies in establishing cross-border management underpinned by the principles of equity and mutual support to save our region from the harmful effects of climate change”.

The new project contributes to the global dialogue and action following COP27, reinforcing the urgency of climate adaptation and mitigation measures.

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