Lake Chad Commission commences economic strategy for member states

Mazino Dickson

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The Lake Chad Basin Commission said it had begun the implementation of the Regional Stabilisation Strategy to support economic resilience and livelihood of member states.

The Modeler of the commission, Mr Mohammed Bila, made this known in Abuja on Wednesday.

Over the last decade, the four riparian countries around Lake Chad – Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, have experienced unprecedented levels of crises, worsened by repeated incidences of violence from the Boko Haram terrorist group.

These crises have deepened instability, slowed economic growth and engendered deep humanitarian concerns in the region.

The strategy

Validation meeting for regional stabilization strategy for Lake Chad recently held in Abuja

The regional stabilisation strategy is the product of broad consultations among experts of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and those of the African Union Commission, relevant agencies of the United Nations and other stakeholders.

Anchored on nine pillars, the strategy seeks to establish a common approach and an inclusive framework for all stakeholders to support a timely, coordinated, and effective transition from stabilisation to early recovery and the resumption of stalled development processes in the region.

Bila said that the implementation of the strategy had become necessary given the continued degradation of the area following the impact of climate change.

He said that the strategy was being implemented to stop violence and ensure the sustenance of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

According to him, the setting up of the multinational joint task force is to make sure that the security challenges in the region are tackled.

“This authorisation that set up the MNJTF foresaw a second role for the force – that is stabilising the region that has been occupied by Boko Haram.

“And this has led us to develop the regional stabilisation strategy,” he said.

The commission’s modeler added that the impact of climate change and its security implication had now become clear to the international community.

He spoke of the need for the implementation of programmes that would help resolve the degradation of the environment, considering the fact that the shrinking of the Lake Chad “is worrisome’’.

“Now people have lost their livelihoods; their children do not know anything better for the past 24 years; and these are the children that are easily convinced to join terrorist groups.

“We will start building from areas that are safe; we will develop the three livelihood groups of fishing, farming, and cattle rearing within the areas.

“If we are able to develop these products in these areas, they definitely cannot be ignored by the market in Chad.

“We will also develop the business corridor to make it safe so that these products can be exported to Nigeria and Cameroon to develop the trade and commerce network and to improve governance at the local level,” the modeler said.

Nigerian scene

According to Bila, the commission has identified six action plans to be taken to the Nigeria Governors Forum meeting coming up in July.

He expressed the hope that the forum would key into the action plan.

“Borno state will have a territorial action plan, same as Yobe and Adamawa states.

“They will have the same thing. For the Lake Chad region, there will be territorial action plan for the northern region of Cameroon.

“We are also pleading with the member states to pay up their contributions.’’