The World Bank says it is looking to invest more than $5 billion over the next five years to help restore degraded landscapes, improve agriculture productivity, and promote livelihoods in 11 countries in Africa as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Malpass, Group President of the World Bank says the investment will help improve livelihoods as those countries recovered from the outbreak and dealt with the impact of biodiversity loss and climate change through 2025.
Malpass made the announcement of the aid at the One Planet Summit, a high-level meeting which was co-hosted with France and the United Nations, focused on addressing biodiversity loss and climate change.
According to Malpass, the $5 billion will fund interventions in agriculture, water, food security, community development, resilient infrastructure, landscape restoration, and renewable energy.
In a statement, the bank said the funds would benefit countries in the Sahel region, Lake Chad and Horn of Africa. These countries include Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.
The World Bank’s PROGREEN global fund dedicated to boosting countries’ efforts to address landscape degradation would further add $14.5 million for projects in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, Malpass said.
With temperature increase projected to be 1.5 times faster than the global average, the Sahel region, in particular, was one of the most vulnerable to desertification and land degradation, Malpass said. Eighty per cent of the region’s farmlands were degraded and about 30 million people food insecure, he said.
Malpass said investing in the restoration of the Sahel’s landscapes was crucial to mitigate these trends. COVID-19 was aggravating poverty levels, with predictions that extreme poverty rates in the Sahel would for the first time in decades, increase by 1.5 percentage points on average in 2020.
This translated into an additional 1.23 million people who were extremely poor in the Sahel region.
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