Youngsters playing soccer on the reconstructed beach where the sea once reigned supreme, Aného, April 2024. Credit: Nathan Ochole, Video: World Bank

EnvironmentSociety West Africa1. July 2024

We Tamed the Sea and Now Sleep Peacefully

The coastal communities of the West African countries of Benin and Togo have found a way to protect their lives and livelihoods through major cross-border infrastructure projects designed to recover their coastal territory.

“In Grand-Popo [in Benin], the sea has receded by more than 200 meters, and we have regained a larger beach that stretches over 5.3 kilometers long!” exclaims Joycelyn Ayité Ayi, mayor of the city.

The World Bank’s International Development Association launched the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program in 2018, investing $594 million in some 20 cross-border – Benin and Togo – projects like breakwaters groins and sand walls, spanning more than 42 kilometres. Consequently, the sea retracted by hundreds of meters, safeguarding the livelihood of 27,000 households – or 145,000 individuals – and protecting their lives against flooding. “We now sleep peacefully, free from the fear of inundation,” says Ayayi Hounlede, a resident of Aného in Togo.

World Bank

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