The Niger River Basin covers an area of 2.13 million km2 and is home to over 130 million people in nine countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.
Over 70% of the population live in areas where food security depends on unreliable rainfall and highly variable inter-and intra-annual river flows while at the same time, agriculture uses 85% of freshwater withdrawals in the Niger basin. While progress is being made within the basin, 30% of the population still do not have access to an improved water source, 75% do not have improved sanitation facilities and only 35% have access to electricity.
Increasing demand for water, energy and soil resources, and competing uses in the context of climate variability, population growth, political instability and a complex web of governance levels constitute a major challenge for balanced resource planning.
Water infrastructure (multi-purpose) is considered by the riparian countries of the Niger River as particularly crucial for improving the quality of life in the region. The WEF Nexus approach can provide an appropriate framework to design policies to holistically attain these development objectives by seeking efficiency of resource use.
Emphasis is specifically placed on:
• the improved interactions between key sectors (i.e. water, energy, agriculture, and environment),
• hydropower development using multi-purpose infrastructure
• irrigation to increase crop production and food security
• navigation development to enhance commerce and development and environmental protection;
• and protection of ecosystems.
The Nexus approach is increasingly acknowledged in the region and fostered by relevant organizations involved in transboundary cooperation such as the Niger Basin authority.
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