World Bank Improves Water Management in the Senegal River Region
3 April 2013: The World Bank has reported on the implementation of a multi-country project, titled Senegal River Basin Multi-Purpose Water Resources Development Project (MWRD), which aims to assist Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal in jointly managing shared water resources, as well as reduce poverty, diseases and hunger.
MWRD was launched in 2006 with an initial fund of US$110 million to be invested in fisheries, irrigation, health and water resources management. The project builds on the Senegal River Basin Organization (OMVS), created in 1972 by Mali, Mauritania and Senegal to assist the management of transboundary water resources.
The Senegal River is fundamental for local communities, as river resources are key for their livelihoods. The World Bank estimates that the project improved fish stocks by 13% since 2000 and recovered around 4,400 acres of land for agriculture use. In particular, the improvement of cultivation opportunities benefits women, who rely on subsistence agriculture.
The Senegal River basin, with a population of 12 million residents, has historically suffered from acute droughts, causing significant migration to the city of Dakar. The World Bank reports that with improved fishing conditions, migrants are returning. Other benefits of the project include: reduced poverty; low-carbon growth; increased regional trade; and imporved health conditions as bed nets and anti-parasitic treatments, both funded by the project, significantly reducing malaria and schistosomiasis.