Efforts by Malawi to achieve sustainable development and poverty reduction received a boost on Wednesday in Tunis, where the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group approved a loan and two grants of a combined 29.15 million Units of Accounts (UA*), about US$ 47.24 million, to finance the country’s National Water Development Program (NWDP).
The AfDB support – an African Development Fund (ADF) loan of US$ 24.63 million, an ADF grant of US$ 17. 34 million and a Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) Trust Fund grant of €3.520 million – will be deployed to provide the country with urban and rural water supply as well as promote resource management and capacity building in the water sector.
The objective of the programme is to ensure the sustainable provision of adequate water and sanitation services to the people of Malawi.
The NWDP is being implemented on the basis of need and readiness, poverty level, socio-economic indicators, water supply coverage and geographical proximity, with the Bank Group’s intervention focusing on four districts: Lilongwe Rural, Zomba, Mulanje and Machinga. The Bank’s financing is targeting 1.21 million deprived rural inhabitants of the four districts. Expected outcomes include improved equity and proximity in the distribution of water points, enhanced economic status of women scheme officers, and a reduction in the death of children under five years.
The programme covers the entire country and aims at 80% coverage for improved water supply and sanitation by 2015. The RWSSI component will benefit 4.45 million rural and district people while the water resources component will benefit the entire population.
The Bank believes in the efficacy of combined water and sanitation projects because of their positive multiplier effects on development. In the case of the NWDP, for instance, the availability of potable water will save women and children the time wasted in fetching water over long distances and collecting wood to boil water for consumption. This will in turn result in a better use of such time in other productive services, which may lead to increased household income, and eventually to improved health and higher living standards, as well as provide more opportunities for girls to go to school. In particular, the rehabilitated piped-water systems will be expected to have a dramatic change in women’s and children’s use of time. Water system sustainability will be enhanced through the training of over 8,000 people in basic accounting, three-quarters of whom will be women.
The total cost of the NWDP, which is in line with the Malawi Country Strategy Paper, is estimated at UA 147 million. The Bank’s contribution represents 19.7% of the costs.
“Malawi could not have received a better gift for its 44th independence anniversary which falls on 6 July”, the Executive Director for the country, Ian Bonongwe, said while commending the Board, Management and staff of the Bank for supporting the NWDP. He said Malawi was not likely to achieve the critical Millennium Development Goals on target, emphasizing that the country required sustained support from the Bank Group and other donors.
The Bank Group’s operations in Mauritania started in 1969. To date, the cumulative commitments of the Group in the country amount to US$ 914 million in 87 operations.
* UA 1 = US$ 1.62069 = MWK 231.020 as at 02/07/2008