The World Bank has approved 22 million U.S. dollar additional financing for East Africa’s Lake Victoria environmental management project.

World Bank
World Bank

The lender said on Wednesday the additional financing will boost the number of beneficiaries to 450,000, roughly a 50 percent increase in the number under the current project
“The grant supports implementation of expanded activities that scale up the project’s impact, which aims to tackle the environmental challenges of the Lake Victoria Basin over the long- term to improve the welfare of its inhabitants,” the World Bank said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
It said the project will contribute to collaborative management of the Lake Victoria Basin among the partner states and improve the environmental management of targeted pollution hotspots and sub-catchments in the Basin.
Kenya and Tanzania each will receive 10 million dollars in International Development Association (IDA) credits for project activities, with a 2 million dollar grant for regional activities under the project.
The bank also said an additional 500,000 dollars Cooperation in International Waters in Africa grant is pending confirmation from the donors. The funding approval will extend the project until 2017.
World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project, Stephen Ling, said the project’s focus on economic diversification and rehabilitating watersheds and other natural systems is helping to boost human and ecological resilience to climate change.
“Ultimately the project aims to create sustainable wealth and employment for all of the basin countries through green growth and reversing the decline in Lake Victoria Basin and the surrounding natural resources,” Ling added.
Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest freshwater body and is a shared natural resource, whose water, pollutants and fish stocks freely cross national boundaries of the five countries in the Basin, namely, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Lake supports the world’s largest freshwater fishery with a total annual landed catch value estimated at around 500 million dollars. The waters of the Lake and its catchment also provide 90 percent of Uganda’s hydropower, and most of the hydropower for Rwanda and Burundi.
Yet the Lake Victoria Basin has also become a global example of environmental degradation brought on by overfishing, industrial and wastewater pollution and lax management of the natural resources in the Basin.
Colin Bruce, World Bank’s Regional Integration Director for Africa, said the project is generating a wide range of benefits, including enhancing the Basin’s economic growth, reducing poverty in riparian communities, fostering regional cooperation, and protecting the integrity of a delicate Basin ecosystem.
“By enhancing services and livelihoods for the poor and increasing the long-term productivity of the Basin’s resources, the project contributes directly to ending extreme poverty for the millions of families in the Lake Victoria Basin,” Bruce said. Enditem



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