SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

AfDB Okays US$121.7 Million Loan, Euro 3 Million Grant

…To Support WATSAN Sector

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By Cyber Era Reporter

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 approved a US$121.7 million loan (ZAR 1.893 billion) and Euro 3 million (US$3.33million)grant from the Rural Water Supply Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund to support Namibia’s “Water Sector Support Programme”.

The programme will facilitate sustainable production and transfer of water resources to improve access to potable water and for agricultural and industrial use. It will also enhance sanitation in rural areas and enrich institutional capacity, sustainable management and utilization.

In particular, it seeks to increase access to sustainable water services from the current level of 85 per cent and sanitation services from 54 per cent to the universal 100 per cent target by 2030.

Namibia is grappling with a national water crisis due to severe droughts. The 2018/19 rainy season, one of the driest since 1981, only received 50 per cent or less of average seasonal rainfall, thereby posing serious constraints to the southern African nation’s economic, environmental and social development agenda.

The programme, to be implemented over five years, entails the construction and rehabilitation of bulk water infrastructure and associated fixtures, construction of water supply schemes and climate resilient inclusive sanitation facilities, hygiene interventions and institutional capacity building initiatives.

A key element of the project is sanitation marketing, focusing on behavioural change, Director of the Water Development & Sanitation Department Gladys Wambui Gichuri told Board members. “It is critical to improve sanitation, including reducing the number of people practising open defecation,” she said.

The project aligns to Namibia’s national development plans and a government priority to boost the availability and affordability of water as a basic element for making Namibia a prosperous and industrialized nation by 2030.

The programme is building on innovative technology in sanitation in Namibia which treats its wastewater in Windhoek to potable standards and injects 30 per cent of the recycled water into the system for distribution to consumers. The programme includes preparation of studies and designs for direct potable water reclamation in Windhoek to increase the existing capacity by 17,000 m3/day.

At completion in 2024, the interventions will directly benefit estimated 1 million people and 250,000    indirect beneficiaries, mostly women. Rural residents will gain better health from improved environmental and sanitary conditions. Special focus will be given to vulnerable households within the programme areas for improved sanitation facilities. It will also provide job opportunities and  empower women and youth groups for possible business along the water and sanitation value chain.

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