The World Bank will provide a $500 million credit to fund economic projects in West Africa's Niger River Basin.
The project will fund sustainable increases in water resource productivity, boost hydropower generation, and foster economic growth in nine countries in the region over the next 12 years.
Details of the program were released in a press release issued Tuesday.
Funding will initially go to renovating the Kaninji and Jebba hydropower plants to help address chronic power shortages in the region. The project also will strengthen the Niger Basin Authority, which will serve as a governing structure for the project and encourage coordination in the region.
A World Bank official says the Niger basin region has enormous potential for development, with only 20 percent of irrigable land currently being used.
Funding will be awarded in two phases. The initial $185 million credit will go to Nigeria, Guinea, Benin, Mali and Niger. The second, $315 million investment, is slated for Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad and Ivory Coast.
More than 110 million people live in the Niger basin region.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.