SENEGAL: Phosphate giant OCP supports the protection of Niokolo Koba Park

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SENEGAL: Phosphate giant OCP supports the protection of Niokolo Koba Park© UNESCO

The Niokolo Koba National Park in the Tambacounda region of Senegal, which has been on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Red List of Endangered Sites since 2007, will be rehabilitated thanks to funding from the Office chérifien des phosphates (OCP) foundation. The initiative aims to preserve the ecosystems of this natural area created in 1954.

The foundation of the Office chérifien des phosphates (OCP) is stepping up its support for the preservation of ecosystems in Senegal. The Moroccan phosphate giant recently concluded a partnership with the authorities of this West African country with a view to the sustainable management of the Niokolo Koba national park located 650 kilometres east of Dakar.

According to the Senegalese Ministry of the Environment, Sustainable Development and Ecological Transition, this agreement mainly concerns the control of the quality of the park’s water “through the granting of equipment and capacity building for managers and agents”, the creation of income-generating activities, particularly in the areas of solar energy and agro-ecology, with a view to empowering young people and women. The initiative will also raise awareness among the populations of 17 municipalities surrounding the Niokolo Koba National Park about the preservation of its wildlife and plant potential.

The 913,000 hectare site on the Guinean border is home to nearly 350 species of birds and 80 species of mammals, including lions, leopards, elephants, antelopes, monkeys, warthogs, baboons, buffaloes, as well as hippos and crocodiles.

Preservation of ecosystems

The project financed by the OCP Foundation within the Niokolo Koba National Park will be implemented until 2024 by the Senegalese National Parks Directorate (DPN). To date, it has already enabled the capacity building of 24 council agents, the setting up of a water quality analysis system consisting of a mobile laboratory, two pick-ups and six motorbikes for monitoring the quality of ground and surface water, thanks to the expertise of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Morocco.

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Earlier in June 2022, the OCP Foundation granted 1.4 billion CFA francs (more than 2 million euros) to the Senegalese Agency for Reforestation and the Great Green Wall (ASERGMV) for the development of partnerships with soil and water analysis laboratories, and the training of managers in climate and environment in order to implement the Senegalese part of the Great Green Wall initiative. This project initiated by the African Union (AU) aims to combat desertification in Africa through the restoration of 100 million hectares of degraded land thanks to a strip of vegetation that will link Dakar to Djibouti and will cover more than 117,000 km2, or 11.7 million hectares.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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