World Bank, EU make $8.25b financial pledge for Africa’s Sahel region

world-bankThe World Bank and the European Union have pledged to disburse a total amount of $8.25 billion to Africa’s Sahel region which has been worst hit by poverty.

The World Bank is providing $1.5 billion over the next two years while the EU is making a pledge of €5 billion ($6.75 billion) to six countries in the region over the next seven years.

The announcement was made November 4, 2013 on the eve of an historic trip to The Sahel by development leaders, led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to discuss peace, security, and resilience with the leaders of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad.

In addition to the UN’s Ban, others leaders making the trip are World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim; Andris Piebalgs, European Union Commissioner for Development;  African Union Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; and African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka.

In a statement, the World Bank said its pledges for the next two years will support major regional development priorities such as social safety nets to help families weather the worst effects of economic adversity and natural disasters, improve infrastructure and create opportunities in rural areas.

The EU’s support to the six countries will aim to help tackle the specific and complex challenges of the Sahel region – security and stability, development and resilience.

According to the EU, governance, rule of law and security, delivery of social services, agriculture and food security, as well as regional trade and integration will be at the heart of the development programmes over 2014-2020.

By Ekow Quandzie

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