The European Business Council for Africa

The African Development Bank, in partnership with the Nordic Development Fund and the Government of Denmark will roll-out a program to strengthen access to climate-resilient water and sanitation resources in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger and Somalia. The initiative is expected to strengthen recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new initiative will enhance the sustainability of water systems through the construction or upgrade of existing infrastructure. The program will also 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 $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 during World Water Week, held virtually 23 to 27 August last month.

Tobias von Platen-Hallermund, Chief Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark, said: "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.