World Bank approves $100m to improve decentralized services, management of extractive sector in Niger
The World Bank approved a $100 million financing from the International Development Association (IDA) credit and grant to strengthen local governments’ capacity and extractive sector management in Niger.
The Governance of Extractives for Local Development (GOLD) and Covid-19 Response project will strengthen and support the implementation of policies, laws and regulations on decentralization and sustainable extractive sector management. The project includes support to the COVID-19 response coordination mechanism at local level.
More specifically, it will: increase access to basic services that have been decentralized, in particular water, primary education and health services; improve budget execution at the municipal level; increase and strengthen management of extractive revenues transferred to local governments; increase mining sector attractiveness to private sector investment; strengthen oversight of mining activities and support the formalization and capacity-building of artisanal miners on environmental and social good practices.
"The GOLD project seeks to support government reforms to improve the deployment and decentralization of public resources to promote transparent revenue-sharing arrangements from the extractives sector to benefit the local population – as well as improve extractive sector management to increase revenues from the mining sector as well as mitigate the environmental and social impacts," said Joelle Dehasse, World Bank Country Manager. "The Bank is very pleased to support the COVID-19 response at the local level through this project, which was designed to address key drivers of fragility in Niger and improve prospects for poverty reduction and shared prosperity."
The development challenges that the project will support are also among those that heighten fragility and risks of conflict in Niger and received support from the IDA18 Risk Mitigation Regime. Among these is the lack of basic social services and state presence in parts of the country with high levels of insecurity. Governance issues in the extractive sector, notably the mining sector, is another challenge and source of social and economic tensions.
These issues are exacerbated by, and contribute to lack of economic opportunities for young people, high gender inequality, and low education and health outcomes due to lack of services. Since March 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has compounded these challenges by further hindering delivery of basic public services at the local level.
"Given the unstable security context at the borders, the project will contribute to mitigate some of the drivers of fragility in the country. It will contribute to building resilience by improving service delivery and strengthening local government capacity to manage resources and local development, including citizen engagement; mobilizing revenues from the extractive sector for the State and local governments, and creating jobs and livelihood opportunities for the communities, with a strong focus on women," said Abel Bove, World Bank’s Senior Governance Specialist, and Task Team Leader for the project.