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African Sahel Projects to Get $8 Billion From World Bank and EU

The World Bank and the European Union plan to invest as much as $8 billion in hydro power, agriculture and health projects in Africa’s Sahel.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim pledged $1.5 billion over the next two years to expand renewable-energy sources and health services in the area below the Sahara desert that covers parts of Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, according to an e-mailed statement. The investment includes $585 million in guarantees for a gas project in Mauritania.

“The people of the Sahel region desperately need more secure living standards and our hope is this funding helps build a new path for economic growth in the region,” Kim said.

Kim arrives in Senegal today with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and will visit and meet with the presidents of Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad later this week. European Union Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs is also attending.

Funds from the EU are meant to strengthen security and stability as well as governance and rule of law in the countries in the area, according to the statement.

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