The African Development Bank took part in the 12th Summit of Heads of State and Government of Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) last week in Abuja, where member states discussed ways and means of revitalizing the Commission as an effective trans-border tool for peace, cooperation, stability and socio-economic development.
Presidents Mamadou Tandja of Niger, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of Nigeria and Idriss Derby of Chad attended the summit. Cameroon and the Central African Republic were represented by their water resources ministers while the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo participated as observers.
The Heads of State and Government reiterated their strong determination to support and strengthen the LCBC to enable the institution to promote regional co-operation and integration with a view to safeguarding peace, stability and socio-economic development for more than 30 million people living in the Lake Chad Basin. The summit reviewed projects under preparation and progress on feasibility studies on a proposed plan to divert water from the Ubangi-Congo River into Lake Chad.
The leaders expressed concern regarding the LCBC’s financial, institutional and operational challenges and agreed to organize a donors’ conference before the end of 2008 to raise resources for the implementation of the LCBC’s priority projects. The summit approved the Commissioners’ proposal to appoint an Executive Secretary and an Assistant Executive Secretary and requested Nigeria and Cameroon to fill the respective positions. For his part, AfDB resident Representative in Nigeria, Herve Assah, stressed the Bank’s continuous support to the LCBC Initiative, in particular, and efforts aimed at fostering improved regional integration which are in line with the Bank’s mission.
The summit commended Libya’s admission into the LCBC, the participation of the DRC and the Republic of Congo, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN, the Chairman of Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, as well as representatives of friendly countries. The LCBC’s development partners such as the UNDP, the World Bank, UNEP, EU, ABEDA, GTZ and the IDB also attended. Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua took over the chairmanship of the summit from his Niger counterpart, Mamadou Tandja.