AfDB approves US $231 million for building resilience to food and nutrition insecurity in the Sahel

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In a move aimed at ending the frequent cycles of drought and famine in the Sahel region, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 approved loans and grants amounting to US $231 million to finance a Programme to Build Resilience to Food and Nutrition Insecurity in the Sahel (P2RS).

The programme involves member-countries of the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILLS) – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

It is part of the Global Alliance for resilience in the Sahel and West Africa and focuses on nutrition and the use of second generation ICTs such as mobile phones to facilitate better access to markets and prediction of crises and disasters. Specifically, it seeks to increase, on a sustainable basis, agro-sylvo-pastoral and fishery productivity and production in the Sahel.

Overall, the P2RS aims to eliminate the structural causes of acute and chronic food and nutrition crises by helping vulnerable households to increase their productivity, production and incomes, gain access to infrastructure and basic social services and build a heritage that strengthens their livelihoods in a sustainable manner. The programme will lay emphasis on improving the economic situation of women and their access to resources which is a key factor in overcoming infant malnutrition.

It will be implemented under four five-year project-segments in three components, namely: (i) Rural Infrastructure Development; (ii) Value Chains and Regional Markets Development; and (iii) Project Management.

Project 1 of P2RS will construct water mobilization as well as pastoral facilities in targeted rural districts and assist vulnerable households to sustainably manage natural resources and improve nutrition. A value chain approach based on growth sub-sectors will be used to secure, store and boost the supply and marketing of, and access to, agricultural products.

It is in line with regional agricultural policy guidelines, particularly: (i) CILSS’ Food Security Strategic Framework (FSSF) to fight poverty; (ii) the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Agricultural Policy (WAP); and (iii) the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP). The project also serves as a tool for implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP/NEPAD) and the Regional Agricultural Investment Programme (RAIP), which seek to boost the productivity, production and income of agricultural value chains.

The project is consistent with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2023) and Gender Strategy (2014-2018). At the regional level, it fits into the 2011-2015 Regional Integration Strategy Paper for West Africa whose first pillar is the strengthening of linkages between regional markets. It is also in keeping with the 2011-2015 Central Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (RISP) whose first pillar is the development of regional infrastructure.

P2RS Project 1 will be implemented in seven countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal) and will initially target the most vulnerable households, especially smallholders, stock breeders and agro-pastoralists and traditional fishermen (180,000 farms and SMEs targeted). Special attention will be paid to women and children of tender age, specifically those within the period of 1,000 days from pregnancy to the age of 24 months. Thus, nutrition actions will cover 450,000 mothers and children. Overall, the number of direct and indirect beneficiaries impacted will be 3,030,000 people, 1,430,000 of them direct targets and 51% women and girls. Annex C4 describes the regions, number of municipalities and populations concerned for each country.

The total cost of Project 1 of P2RS at US $271.77 million or €204.84 million. It will be financed respectively by ADF-XIII in the form of grants and loans to the tune of US $231 million UA 155.81 million or 85% of total programme cost. The governments of the seven countries, CILSS and beneficiaries will contribute the remaining 15% of programme cost.

The Sahel Programme (P2RS) is one of the key outcomes of a high-profile visit to the Sahel region undertaken by AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, African Union Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs in November 2013.