The Executive Secretary of Niger Basin Authority (NBA) Dr Abderahim on Friday announced the establishment of a 300-million dollar fund with the African Development Bank, for technical and environmental studies to protect the basin.
DR Hamid made this known at the opening of the 36th ordinary session of the NBA council of ministers in Abuja
Hamid said it was important for NBA member countries to make additional effort through contributions and strengthening capacity for improvement of livelihoods.
“I would like to request for member countries’ political and financial support and their ownership of NBA actions, so as to create favorable conditions for the people, especially in efforts to engage the youth of the basin.”
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu who spoke at the meeting held in Abuja pointed out that degradation of the environment in the Niger Basin and its impact on the natural resources were major concerns of the country.
He added that the solutions entailed strengthened cooperation while noting that combined phenomena of climate change and population growth, as well as the rrational and abusive exploitation of natural resources, had been having adverse consequences on the social-economic activities in the basin.
Adamu said that it was saddening to note that the Niger Basin Area, with a population of more than 130 million, was facing myriad challenges despite its richness and its diversity.
He harped on the need for the member countries to promote the development of the region by showing more commitment through the payment of their contributions and implementation of major integration projects and the silting control program in the basin, among others.
While restating the commitment of the federal government to fast-track the development of the basin, so as to achieve the overall goal of improving the livelihoods of the residents of the area, the minister also noted that programs such as Reversing Land and Water Degradation Trends in the Niger Basin and the Water Resource Ecosystems Program had been of great importance to the survival and development of the basin.
The executive secretary of the Basin promised that the authority would continue to improve governance without forgetting the current difficulties in trans-boundary basin management.
The Niger Basin Authority has nine-member countries – Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad.
The population of the basin is approximately 130 million, with over 70 percent living in rural areas.
Due to its ecological and socio-economic importance, the Niger Basin is crucial to the development of the West African sub-region.