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$8 Billion Pledged to Improve Conditions in Sahel

The European Union and World Bank have pledged more than $8 billion to improve living conditions in the drought-hit Sahel region of Africa.

The announcement Monday came ahead of a visit to the region by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

The U.N. says the World Bank has pledged $1.5 billion over the next two years to fund energy, irrigration, health services and communications projects in the Sahel.

The EU is set to provide more than $6.7 billion to help six West African countries improve governance, food security, rule of law and the delivery of social services. That initiative is still subject to approval by the European Parliament and the EU Council.

In a statement Monday, the U.N. secretary-general said the cycle of crises in the Sahel can be broken.

The region across West and Central Africa has suffered three major droughts in less than a decade and chronic political instability in countries such as Mali and Niger.

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