Magharebia (Washington DC)

Mauritania: Housing Sector Receives Funding Boost

Nouakchott — New water facilities, schools, commercial facilities, community clinics and health centres are also on the way in Mauritania.

Citizens across Mauritanian will soon have access to decent housing clean water and other resources, thanks to an influx of funds promised by international partners.

The pledge came after a World Bank delegation visited Mauritania on January 25th.

For its part, the EU contributed 600 million ouguiyas to help 35 communes as part of a decentralisation support scheme.

"Following the allocation of more than 400 million ouguiyas last October, during the initial phase intended to help 25 communes by financing local development activity, ten new communes will receive 155 million ouguiyas," an EU statement issued on January 23rd said.

"This financing forms part of the Local Development Innovation Facility (FIDEL) of the European Programme for the Strengthening of Local Authority Institutions and their Services (PERICLES)."

The statement added, "As part of these efforts, Mauritanian local authorities and European partners signed grant agreements for three communes in Brakna and Trarza."

FIDEL has a budget of more than 1.5 million euros, with the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) respectively contributing 850,000 euros and 665,000 euros toward it.

The 35 projects include efforts to build drinking water facilities, schools, commercial facilities -- such as abattoirs and markets -- community clinics and health centres.

"This financing will enable the beneficiary communes to build water facilities and have health centres, town markets, classrooms and other social and economic services, which will benefit rural populations," EU Ambassador to Mauritania Hans-Georg Gerstenlauer said.

During its visit, the World Bank delegation met with various departments involved in the partnership between the World Bank and Mauritania to discuss ways to strengthen this cooperation between them.

"The results of this experience are tangible and their positive repercussions on people's lives are visible," World Bank Director of Sustainable Development for sub-Sahara Africa Jamal Saghir said of the visit to the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott.

Saghir added that "the World Bank was committed to supporting this experience in other fields of cooperation with the Mauritanian government".

"The rehabilitation of shantytowns has made it possible to move 40,000 families and make various basic facilities and vital public services available in these neighbourhoods," Urban Development Agency head Ely Salem Ould Monnah said.

Nouakchott's population is growing by 8% annually, said geographer Moktar Aw.

"There is no exaggeration in saying that Nouakchott is among the fastest-growing cities in the world. Over the past thirty years, its population has increased by a factor of 18, rising from 40,000 to nearly a million inhabitants," he said.

"The restructuring of precarious neighbourhoods in Nouakchott has been designed as a poverty reduction programme. As such, its goals are to help disadvantaged communities gain ownership of their plot of land, improve access to basic urban amenities and services, and develop amenities which support economic activity through the creation of new jobs," Aw said.

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