The World Bank Board of Directors approved an additional financing of $150 million from the International Development Association (IDA)* for the Niger Basin Water Resources Development and Sustainable Ecosystems Management Program, also known as the Kandadji Program. The program will contribute to increasing access to energy and water resources and will improve the livelihoods of about 330,000 people living in the Niger River Basin.
The additional financing supports irrigation development, environmental and social safeguards measures and local community development. Specifically, it will support the construction of improved housing in resettled communities, provide drinking water and sanitation and provide support to resettled populations, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations.
"Given the challenges facing the region, this funding will help the country adapt to the impacts of climate change by reducing beneficiaries' vulnerability to drought, promoting local adaptation measures and paving the way for renewable electricity in Niger," says Soukeyna Kane, World Bank Country Director for Niger. "In this time of the pandemic, ensuring access to water, sanitation and hygiene services is essential to prevent diseases like COVID-19. The jobs created will also help mitigate the negative economic impact of the pandemic".
Niger’s economy depends primarily on agriculture and is not well diversified. Agricultural production remains low due to limited access to high quality seeds, lack of availability of water in all seasons, poor irrigation systems and limited access to roads. As a result, people have challenges meeting their basic needs in terms of nutrition, housing, and access to essential services. In addition, Niger has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world, with only 13% of the population having access to electricty.
The Kandadji dam, with its reservoir and regulation system, will enhance the availability and management of water for agriculture development and increase capacity for renewable energy generation in the Niger part of the Niger basin. This will allow for the irrigation of 45,000 hectares of land and will produce an annual average of 629 GWh of additional electricity, which represents about half of Niger’s consumption in 2018.
The COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing security situation in Tillabery region in western Niger have worsened the country's economic situation. This additional financing will improve living conditions by providing improved housing and drinking water and sanitation to communities. It will also reduce the time spent by women to fetch water every day by installing standpipes closer to their homes and promote economic and livelihood opportunities for women and youth through income-generation activities.
"The Kandadji Program is a priority for the World Bank because it has the potential to transform the economy of Niger and provide important benefits across the Sahel region," said Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Africa. "In a region plagued by insecurity, this program aims to foster regional and local development to benefit the most vulnerable populations, as well as promote lasting peace in the region”. The project is financed by $100 million credit and a $50 million grant from IDA, including funds from the Regional IDA Window.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.