Lives and Livelihoods Fund approves US$99 million for groundbreaking Africa development pr...
Jeddah,22 May 2017
The Lives and Livelihoods Fund and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have signed US$99 million in finance with the Governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal for the Sahel Sustainable Pastoralism Development Project, which aims to support regional food security and improve the livelihoods of one million people in the Sahel region of West Africa.
The Sahel Sustainable Pastoralism Development project is the first cross-border development project for the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, which has committed over US$600 million to rural infrastructure, agriculture productivity and disease eradication projects over the past year in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The project will establish a regional framework to help provide smallholder farmers and pastoralists in the Sahel with better access to markets, with a focus on small ruminant and livestock production. It will increase the value of rural household farms, make nutrient-rich foods more affordable, and support animal health and production.
It is estimated that about 50 million people rely on pastoralism for a major part of their livelihood in Sub-Saharan Africa, with around half of them located in the Sahel and the Saharan fringes, and 70 percent classified as poor by the World Bank.
H.E. Maher Al Hadrawi, Assistant Supervisor General for Operations and Programs at King Salman Relief and Humanitarian Aid Center and Chair of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund for its first year of operations, stated that financing for the project is made possible by the Fund’s innovative concessional finance framework, which blends ordinary finance from the IDB with LLF donor grants. The agreement with the Government of Mali was signed following the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group.
The Lives and Livelihoods Fund is the largest multilateral development initiative in the Middle East and North Africa, targeting poverty alleviation in the member countries of the IDB. The Fund aims to make US$2.5 billion available for anti-poverty projects in health, agriculture and rural infrastructure over five years. US$363 million was approved for the Fund’s first operational year in 2016, and another US$242 million approved in 2017 for new projects in different countries.
H.E. Maher Al Hadrawi, Chairman of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, commented:
“The Sahel is a region in West Africa which desperately needs access to finance to boost economic growth. This cross-border project is an important milestone for the Lives and Livelihoods Fund; the largest project signed to date, and for the first time drives impact across several countries at once, benefiting one million people across Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal with an emphasis on small ruminant and livestock production by smallholder farmers and pastoralists.”
He added: “The project is testament to the global nature of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, the largest multilateral development of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, formed through a collaboration between some of the biggest development and humanitarian organizations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. The Fund spans borders to offer a regional solution to development challenges in Muslim majority countries.”
Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, Director General of QFFD, commented:
“The Lives and Livelihoods Fund has already made vast progress in its mission to help the poorest people in the Muslim world live healthier, more productive lives through investments in health, agriculture, and basic infrastructure. We are pleased to work with the Governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal, for the Fund’s first cross-border development project. Millions of people living in the Sahel are in crucial need of economic development opportunities. This project will help create self-sustaining livelihoods for some of the most isolated communities.”
His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said:
“This new and pivotal project by the Lives and Livelihoods Fund underpins efforts to secure food and by extension alleviate living standards for the people that need it most. Not only that, but this socio-economic project marks a major accomplishment for the Fund. The Sahel Sustainable Pastoralism Development project, the first of its kind for LLF, will cater to three countries and benefit over one million people in the region.”
He added: “As well supporting family farming, this trans-border project will go a long way in creating job opportunities within the industry thus first handedly promoting sustainable long-term growth for the Sahel region of West Africa.”
Hassan Al-Damluji, Head of Middle East Relations for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commented:
“The Lives and Livelihoods Fund prioritizes projects that drive the most impact for each dollar spent and improve the lives of those most in need across the Muslim world. The Sahel Sustainable Pastoralism Development Project is a prime example of this. Pastoralism is one of the dominant economies of the Sahel, and has a big impact on regional stability and food security. This project takes into consideration the mobile nature of pastoralists, and will benefit numerous secondary beneficiaries including public and private services providers.”
Administered by the IDB, the Lives and Livelihoods Fund combines US$2 billion of IDB financing with US$500 million in grants from donors. So far, US$400 million in grants have been committed by the King Salman Relief and Humanitarian Aid Center (US$100 million), the Qatar Fund for Development (US$50 million), the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (US$50 million), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (US$100 million), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (US$100 million).