Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the World Bank are entering into partnership to develop a master plan on the development and protection of the areas.
This is considered a conscious effort aimed at alleviating the plight of the people resident in coastal communities of the Niger Delta.
The collaboration is coming as a response to the need to encourage economic activities in the Niger Delta region, as well as to protect it from further environmental degradation.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, who spoke when he played host to a delegation of the World Bank Group, led by Dahlia Lotayef in Abuja, said: “This visit is a fall out of the meeting on West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme held in Lome, Togo recentlu.”
Usani reiterated that the ministry would look into deliberations at the just concluded summit with the purpose of 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 Niger Delta region depends largely on maritime activities, hence the need for the World Bank to align the promotion and protection of agricultural activities into its programmes in the region.
“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”, Usani said on a statement issued by the Director (Press) Marshall Gundu.
In her remarks, the leader of the delegation, Dahlia Lotayef said WACA was established by the World Bank in 2015 in response to demand from the countries in the region to manage their growing coastal erosion and flooding problems.
“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,” she added.