The World Bank plans to invest over $5bn within the next five years to help restore degraded landscapes, improve agricultural productivity, and promote livelihoods across 11 African countries.
It said the countries were on a swathe of land stretching from Senegal to Djibouti, without naming the particular nations.
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, in a statement from the bank on Thursday, announced the investment at the One Planet Summit, a high-level meeting co-hosted with France and the United Nations that focused on addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.
He was quoted as saying, “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.”
Malpass said more than $5bn in financing would support agriculture, biodiversity, community development, food security, landscape restoration, job creation, resilient infrastructure, rural mobility, and access to renewable energy.
This, he said, would be across 11 countries of the Sahel, Lake Chad and Horn of Africa.
The bank said many of these efforts were in line with the Great Green Wall initiative.
“This 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,” the bank stated.
Commenting on the matter, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Mahamat, said, “Restoring natural ecosystems in the drylands of Africa benefits both people and the planet.”
The bank also stated that working with many partners, PROGREEN, a World Bank global fund dedicated to boosting countries’ efforts to address landscape degradation, would also invest $14.5m in five Sahelian countries.
It named the countries as Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania.