The World Bank approved $400 Million USD in recent weeks for new funding for the Integrated Water Security Platform in Niger.
The project, which will affect about 3 million people, is designed to strengthen the management of water resources: increase access to services and improve resilience to climate-induced water variability in select areas of Niger. Its focus is “participatory” management to harness scarce water resources that will contribute to food security.
More specifically, it will develop improved monitoring systems, promote sustainable use across all sectors, restore the environment to improve the resilience of agricultural and rural livelihoods to drought and flood. The program will also expand rural development services, including small-scale irrigation, water-usage related activities for pastoralists, and aquaculture; and improve of access to drinking water and sanitation services with low-carbon and resilience considerations.
The funding has been arranged through the International Development Association (IDA) the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. The fund provides grants and low- to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.
In Niger, as of 2017, only 50 Percent of the population had access to basic water service. Climate change has led to shorter but more intense rain patterns which affect agricultural productivity and in turn food insecurity. Poor water resource management and widespread land degradation due to excessive agricultural and grazing practices, have limited access to water and arable land.
"Access to equitable basic social services for all Nigeriens is fundamental to improve human capital and livelihoods," says Joelle Dehasse, World Bank Country Manager for Niger. "This is a landmark investment to improve access and management of scarce water resource in a country grappling with the impacts of climate change. From small scale irrigation, livestock watering and fodders transformation, expansion of water supply services and public sanitation facilities, to promoting good hygiene for better health outcomes and institutional reforms, this project will help Niger to raise the quality and sustainability of critical water services."