MALAWI – The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved $35.7 million loan to extend the drinking water network in southern Malawi.

The project is to be implemented by the state-owned Southern Region Water Board (SRWB). The soft loan is to be repaid over 20 years with a grace period of 5 years.

The EIB funding is for the extension of the drinking water network in the southern region of Malawi, particularly in Balaka and Liwonde.

According to the SRWB, part of the funding will be used for the development of a power plant to diversify its operations.

The SRWB did not disclose details on the nature of the facilities to be built, nor their capacity but it estimates that the drinking water project in these two cities will supply some 150,000 people until 2050.

Poor sanitation and hygiene costs Malawi US$57 million each year, or 1.1 per cent of national GDP

Work on the project will start as early as March 2022 in the southern region of Malawi and is targeted to be completed by August 2023.

The project will ultimately improve the country’s national household drinking water coverage, estimated at 67% according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 2020 report.

According to the same source, just 77% of Malawi’s water points are functional while the remainder are non-functional due to obsolescence, deterioration of catchments, neglect, lack of spare parts and inadequate community water management structures.

In its latest policy to provide all Malawians with safe drinking water, the government is also supported by the Exim Bank of India which opened a US$215.68 million line of credit to finance the construction of the Likhubula River water supply system in Mulanje, southern Malawi.

The funds will also be used to establish and expand the water supply system in the Blantyre Water Board’s areas of jurisdiction.

Poor sanitation and hygiene are major contributors to the burden of disease and child survival, costing Malawi US$57 million each year, or 1.1 per cent of national GDP, due to health costs and productivity losses.

Meanwhile, Desalytics Water Solutions, a company specializing in the distribution of water treatment and water quality consumables, has strengthened its operations in Sub-Saharan Africa with the entry into the Kenyan market.

Desalytics was established in 2020, with the aim of helping municipal and industrial customers produce reliable water, optimize processes, maximize returns at a competitive cost through expertise, technologies, and local footprint.

The company’s innovative business model relies on an impact investing approach where it partners with young African entrepreneurs, and helps them start or scale their businesses, through working capital injection, mentoring programs, and global supplier relationships.

 “Sub-Saharan Africa remains an underserved water market, lacking the presence of leading multinationals, which creates a challenge for local industries and municipalities to procure high-quality water consumables for either analyzing or treating their drinking, process, and wastewater.

“Kenya remains a hub for the East Africa market. By being close to customers, we can help them improve their processes, deliver results and most importantly provide safe water and treated effluent for the communities they serve,” Walid Khoury, General Manager of Desalytics Holdings said.

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