Nexus Regional Dialogue in the Niger Basin
The Niger River Basin covers an area of 2.13 million km2 and is home to over 130 million people in nine countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. Over 70% of the population live in areas where food security depends on unreliable rainfall and highly variable inter-and intra-annual river flows. Significant poverty levels and a high dependency on small-holder agricultural production persist in the region. Increasing demand for water, energy and soil resources, and competing uses in the context of climate variability, population growth and a complex web of governance levels (regional, basin, national and sub-national) constitute a major challenge for a balanced resource planning. Water infrastructure (multi-purpose) is considered by the riparian countries of the Niger River as particularly crucial for improving the quality of life in the region. Emphasis is placed on hydroelectric and irrigation schemes, aiming at supplying electricity to major urban centres and promoting economic development and food security.