By Emma Ujah
The World Bank Group plans to invest over $5 billion over the next five years to help restore degraded landscapes and improve agriculture productivity.
According to the statement by the institution, the Group’s President, David Malpass, announced the investment at the One Planet Summit, a high-level meeting co-hosted with France and the United Nations.
He disclosed that the programme would also target improvement in livelihoods across 11 African countries on a swathe of land stretching from Senegal to Djibouti.
“This investment, which comes at a crucial time, will help improve livelihoods as countries recover from COVID-19 while also dealing with the impact of both biodiversity loss and climate change on their people and economies,” said Malpass.
The more than $5 billion in financing would specifically support agriculture, biodiversity, community development, food security, landscape restoration, job creation, resilient infrastructure, rural mobility, and access to renewable energy across 11 countries of the Sahel, Lake Chad and Horn of Africa.
According to the bank, many of the efforts were in line with the Great Green Wall initiative.
It added that the initiative “builds on World Bank landscape investments in these countries over the past eight years that reached more than 19 million people and placed 1.6 million hectares under sustainable land management.”
Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, was quoted as saying, “Restoring natural ecosystems in the drylands of Africa benefits both people and the planet.”
Working with many partners, PROGREEN, a World Bank global fund dedicated to boosting countries’ efforts to address landscape degradation, will also invest $14.5 million in five Sahelian countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania.
The World Bank Group is the biggest multilateral funder of climate investments in developing countries.
In December 2020, the Group announced an ambitious new target for 35% of its financing to have climate co-benefits, on average, over the next five years.