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World Bank provides USD375 to boost pastoral production systems in the Sahel.

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Pastoralism is a key driver of growth that provides livelihoods for more than 20 million people in the Sahel. Image credit: The World Bank

08 April 2021 – Pastoralism is a key driver of growth that provides livelihoods for more than 20 million people in the Sahel. The World Bank recently provided USD375 to boost pastoral production systems in the Sahel.

Efforts to improve the productivity and resilience of pastoral production systems in the Sahel got a strong boost with a USD375- million new International Development Association (IDA) financing, approved by the Board of World Bank’s Executive Directors, to support the implementation of the second Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project, known by its French acronym PRAPS-2 (Projet regional d’appui au pastoralisme au Sahel-Phase 2).

Pastoralism is a key driver of growth that provides livelihoods for more than 20 million people in the Sahel. The new project will support this important activity to improve the resilience of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in selected areas of the Sahel region, including in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal.

Building more robust pastoral systems

Building on the successes of its predecessor (PRAPS-1), PRAPS-2 will pursue investments to establish  more robust animal health systems, increase access and governance of natural resources – including new grazing areas and more water infrastructure—, support pastoralists’ peaceful mobility along the local and cross-border mobility routes, and increase income. It will also support national and regional institutions as well as stakeholders’ capacity to govern the sector.

Covid-19 restrictions have impacted pastoral activities and have led to sharp increases in livestock prices, and pastoralists’ livelihoods have been undermined by markets closures and movement limitations. The new project will contribute to targeted responses to these pandemic-related challenges. PRAPS-2 will improve pastoral livestock value chains, facilitate livestock trade, support regional market integration, and will further fill gaps in strategic market infrastructure along regional trade corridors.

It is estimated that at about 13 million people including the youth, and of which at least 30% are women, will directly benefit from the project’s activities.

Ensuring the socio-economic inclusion of women and youth in all development programs in the Sahel is key,” says Soukeyna Kane, World Bank Country Director for Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger. “PRAPS-2 will contribute to this goal by stepping up interventions towards vulnerable women and youth from pastoral households by increasing their access to training, including functional, digital and financial literacy, as well as business skills. It will finance income generating activities to support their self-employment initiatives and will improve access to social and civil registries, a strong demand of pastoralists’ organisations in the Sahel region”.

Pastoral livestock systems offer great opportunity.

Despite continuous efforts of governments and partners, food insecurity and malnutrition persist in the Sahel, and pastoral livestock systems – among others – have been recognised for offering great opportunities that would contribute to address these issues, while serving as steward of the fragile and vast rangelands of these arid and semi-arid areas : “Interventions focused on increasing the availability of animal sourced foods and improving incomes, in particular for the most vulnerable, carry a significant potential for positive food security and nutritional outcomes,” says Simeon Ehui, World Bank’s Regional Director for Sustainable Development in Africa.

Cattle remain one of the main exports from Sahelian landlocked countries, and the most widely traded product between these and coastal countries. “Pastoralism presents advantages for the development of intraregional trade in animal products, and it represents a compelling opportunity for regional integration,” says Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. “The interdependence between Sahelian countries that have a comparative advantage in supplying livestock and livestock products from pastoral systems, and the coastal countries, that provide feed during certain periods of the year and constitute important market outlets, strengthens the ties between people, societies, and economies”.

PRAPS-2 will work with regionally mandated institutions to help integrate policies, harmonise regulations and increase coordination among countries to fully realise the potential of pastoralism to achieve poverty reduction in the Sahel.

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