AfDB unveil initiative to secure climate-resilient water and sanitation services in 5 drought-prone countries

AFRICA – The African Development Bank, in partnership with the Nordic Development Fund and the Government of Denmark are seeking to roll-out a program to strengthen access to climate-resilient water and sanitation resources in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger and Somalia.

The new initiative is set to enhance the sustainability of water systems through the construction or upgrade of existing infrastructure.

Under the program, the partners will support feasibility studies to prepare bankable projects that contribute to increased financing for water, sanitation and hygiene services, improving human health, child education and economic productivity.

“Resilient infrastructure is at the core of the African development process. An investment of US$93 billion per year will be required for the next decade to fill Africa’s infrastructure gap,” said Aage Jorgensen, Program Manager of the Nordic Development Fund.

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Tobias von Platen-Hallermund, Chief Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark, reiterated saying, “The program will focus on immediate improvements, through rehabilitation, expansion and climate proofing of existing water supply systems, sanitation and handwashing facilities.

“In the longer term, the program will focus on preparing projects that are investment ready.”

The initiative will also seek to provide technical assistance to institutions and mitigate climate-related flood and drought risk in the target countries, which experience a highly variable climate including irregular rainfall and persistent drought.

“Safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services are an essential part of preventing and protecting human health during infectious disease outbreaks, including the current Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Covid-19 recovery period is an opportunity to promote greater, equitable, sustainable and resilient access to WASH,” said Osward Chanda, head of the Bank’s Water Development and Sanitation Department.

Access to clean, affordable, and safe drinking water is both a fundamental human right recognized by the United Nations and Goal 6 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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However, access to this essential resource in Africa is not yet universal, with 1 in 3 Africans facing water scarcity and approximately 400 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to a basic drinking water.

Addressing the issue, Mozambique’s Water Supply Investment and Equity Fund (FIPAG), the country’s leading water supplier, has announced an investment of US$1.8 billion to increase the coverage of water supply in all of the country’s urban centers.

The goal is to have the company’s services reach four to five million people in all major cities by 2030.

“We think that by 2030 it is possible to achieve universal water supply target at 100 percent for the urban population,” said FIPAG’s Director Victor Taucale, adding that another project underway is to reduce water losses from 47 percent to 30 percent by 2024.

The government hopes that in about 10 years it will be able to mobilize sufficient resources for the purpose with the support of its partners.

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