The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on Friday, November 18, 2016 approved a US $135-million loan to finance a water and sanitation program targeting small towns in Zambia.
The Integrated Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Program aims to increase access to quality water supply and sanitation services in a sustainable manner in 12 towns located in four provinces of Zambia. Other objectives include ensuring efficient management and operation of the water supply and sewerage facilities on free market principles.
Zambia’s small towns are experiencing rapid growth requiring rehabilitation and expansion of the water and sanitation infrastructure to support businesses and further create a favourable environment for the growth of industries and small businesses. By providing improved infrastructure, this program will specifically boost economic development in the target areas.
Specifically, this intervention will construct and rehabilitate climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure, including expansion into peri-urban and low-cost settlements. It will also build the capacity of water utilities, regulators and train communities involved in the program, including creating economic opportunities for women and youth.
The Bank’s intervention is expected to improve the health conditions of one million residents through increased access to safe and reliable drinking water and improved sanitation services. Also, about 5,000 new jobs will be created during and after the implementation of the program.
The program is aligned to the Zambia’s National Vision 2030 and the Revised Sixth National Development Plan (R-SNDP: 2013-2016). Water is not only central to both strategies, but also considered as a key sector for the growth of the economy.
The Integrated Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Program will further enable the AfDB to achieve its fifth High 5s strategic priority to “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”.
The program is scheduled to be implemented in 48 months at a total cost of US $150.57 million. The Bank’s loans and grants will cover 80% of the costs. The Africa Growth Together Fund will contribute US $15 million in co-financing, while the Government of Zambia will provide US $15 million in counterpart funding.