By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA—The Federal Government and World Bank have entered a partnership arrangement aimed at developing a master plan for the development and protection of the coastal communities of the Niger Delta region.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, at a meeting with a delegation of the World Bank Group, led by Dahlia Lotayef, in Abuja, said the collaboration was expected to alleviate the sufferings of the people living in the coastal communities
Pastor Usani said: “This visit is a fall out of the meeting on West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme held in Lome, Togo, recently.”
He reiterated that the ministry would look into deliberations at the summit with a view to finding ways of utilizing them to develop and enhance economic and social activities in the coastal areas of the Niger Delta region.
He stressed that the livelihood of the people in the coastal areas of the region depended largely on maritime activities, hence the need for the World Bank to align the promotion and protection of agricultural activities with its programmes in the region.
According to him, “The Niger Delta region does not cover the entire coastal areas of Nigeria, so it is imperative that the West Africa Coastal Areas Development Programme, WACA, considers improving the economic activities in the various sectors of all the coastal communities in Nigeria.”
In her remarks, the leader of the delegation, Dahlia Lotayef, said WACA was established by the World Bank in 2015 in response to demands from the countries in the region to manage their growing coastal erosion and flooding problems.
According to her, “WACA is designed to improve the livelihoods of the coastal communities in West Africa by reducing the vulnerability of its coastal areas and promoting climate-resilient integrated coastal management.
The programme’s mix of technical assistance and investments will seek to preserve and rehabilitate the natural coastal resources essential for livelihoods, spur economic development, increase social welfare and support the sustainable development of key growth sectors, such as agro-industry, fisheries, offshore petroleum exploration/production and tourism.”