The area around Lake Chad, a large transboundary lake shared by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger has borne the double burden of climate change and forced displacement. Latest estimates show that the region hosts 2.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons – half of which are children. Vulnerable groups, especially women and youth, have been affected the most. This forced displacement crisis has added pressure on host communities, who are already food insecure. Climate change also poses a critical challenge. Its profound adverse impacts can especially be seen in the timing and amount of rainfall which leads to the loss of productivity of the rain-dependent agricultural areas
Despite the Lake’s potential of being a driver for development in West Africa, the Lake Chad area is challenged by multiple and interrelated drivers of conflict and fragility. Most recently, the Boko Haram regional insurgency has affected over 23 million civilians around the four countries (Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria). Violent acts caused by Boko Haram include coercion, abduction, forced recruitment, indoctrination, human rights abrogation, violent extremism, etc. and besides causing immense psychological trauma and weakening social networks, these acts have also disrupted livelihoods and destroyed assets. The conflict has exacerbated pre-existing challenges and caused extensive damage. As a consequence of the Boko Haram conflict, the Lake Chad Region is also Africa’s largest forced displacement crisis. Latest estimates show 2.3 million individuals (half of them are children) are now displaced in the Region, both internally and across borders as refugees. These significant numbers of refugees and IDPs have added pressure on host communities that are already food insecure.
The Lake Chad Region Recovery and Development Project (PROLAC, P161706) has been in preparation since 2018 for the other three countries that border the Lake: Cameroon, Chad and Niger. In October 2019, the Government of Nigeria requested to bring Nigeria into the regional Lake Chad program (PROLAC). The project aims to contribute to the recovery of the Lake Chad Region through a set of investments – supporting regional coordination, knowledge and monitoring, connectivity and rural mobility and agricultural livelihoods – that seek to address the underlying fragility as well as the acute humanitarian and forced displacement crisis in the four countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger).
The PROLAC project is part of the World Bank’s Lake Chad Region Program. The project constitutes the second phase (“Stabilization and early recovery) of the World Bank’s three-phased Lake Chad Region Program and prepares the transition from a national post-crisis response (Phase 1) to a long-term resilience and sustainable development response (Phase 3) in the Lake Chad Region. The World Bank’s broader Lake Chad Region Program aims to address regional, national and sub-national drivers of fragility through a programmatic, coordinated and holistic approach.
The original PROLAC project was allocated amongst four components as follows:
Regional and National Coordination Platform and Local Capacity Building
This component aims to reinforce regional dialogue and data collection and dissemination, institutional capacity building and knowledge sharing. It will aim to support a Lake Chad Data and Knowledge Platform that will play a key role in coordinating and collecting already existing data on the main drivers of conflict and fragility in the region, disseminate data through a website, and coordinate / lead research dialogue on the LC region. Other activities would include establishment of a Secretariat for the Development of the LC Region and citizen engagement and community participation activities, to build trust / dialogue between the state and citizens.