Washington — The World Bank Board of Directors today approved an IDA* credit of $US40 million to support Senegal's efforts to boost the productivity of rice, mangoes, and other crops, create jobs for youth and female farmers and rehabilitate roads that link isolated rural communities with markets in the country's war-torn Casamance region.
"Senegal's newly elected Government attaches high priority to resolving the long-standing conflict in Casamance," says Vera Songwe, the World Bank Country Director for Senegal. "Today's project goes a long way towards helping to bring peace to the region by boosting the local economy, creating much-needed jobs for vulnerable youth and women and improving access to agricultural markets."
Today's funds support Senegal's Casamance Development Pole Project designed to create economic opportunities and support the reintegration of ex-combatants in Casamance region.
The project's first segment will support building infrastructure and purchasing equipment to enable growers and others to collect, handle, process and transport local produce. It will support the Integrated Economic Platform of Bignona, an ongoing program helping to improve the region's ability to manufacture and export value added products, such as jams and dried fruit, from local produce.
"Insufficient rain and a lack of access to fertilizers and seeds slowed the growth of Senegal's agriculture sector and created a serious food crisis in 2011," says Jamal Saghir, the World Bank Director for Sustainable Development with the Africa Region. "Today's project will help boost the production of rice and other staples of the Senegalese diet facilitate the export of produce from Casamance to other parts of the country and bring much-needed income to farm families."
The project's second component will link isolated rural communities with markets, production centers and cities. Specifically the project will fund spot improvements on about 350 km of unclassified roads and the rehabilitation and maintenance of about 200 km of selected rural roads.
The third part of today's financing will support capacity building of key stakeholders, including the Agence Nationale pour la Relance des Activités Economiques et Sociales en Casamance (ANRAC), and their ability to carry out peace building processes and programs focused on the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration for ex-combatants.
"For the past 30 years the Casamance region has experienced Africa's longest lived low-intensity conflict, which has stifled agriculture, trade and tourism, and killed and injured hundreds of people," says Demba Balde. World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. "I look forward to helping the Senegal Government implement today's project."
* The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world's poorest countries by providing loans (called "credits") and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people's lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa.
Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.