The World Bank said it has provided $385 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing to countries in the Horn of Africa to harness groundwater potential and build climate resilience.
The World Bank said in a statement on Wednesday evening that the Horn of Africa Groundwater Resilience Project (HoAGWRP), a new multi-phase project, will strengthen the region’s ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
“World Bank experience shows that building knowledge about aquifers, building trust around shared groundwater resources, and jointly developing groundwater management mechanisms between countries involves a long trajectory. term that needs to be addressed gradually,” Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa said.
The lender said the project encourages cooperation with Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which will work together to tap the region’s largely untapped groundwater resources to meet and adapt to drought and other climatic stressors impacting their vulnerable borders.
Djibouti and South Sudan have also expressed interest in joining the program in later phases, he added.
The World Bank said the first phase of the project is expected to reach 3.3 million direct beneficiaries, at least 50% of them women, through interventions designed to increase access to water supply and reduce vulnerability to impacts of climate change.
The project will also contribute to improving food security in a region plagued by severe drought.
Daher Elmi Housssein, Director of Agriculture and Environment Division, IGAD, said groundwater provides a natural buffer against climate variability and change, as it is available during droughts when other surface or underground resources are scarce.
“The potential is vast and we are committed to developing inclusive use of this shared resource at the community level, as well as better information, infrastructure and institutions to ensure our groundwater is managed sustainably for generations to come,” Elmi said.
The lender said the project will establish the building blocks that will enable the medium to long term program to improve transboundary water management in the Horn of Africa.
IGAD, a seven-member East African bloc that includes Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, will play a pivotal role as the main long-term regional strategy promoter and facilitator, including data and information. share.