AWF: AfDB Approves a Grant to Finance the Songwe River Basin Development Programme Project

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On 25 May 2010, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved an African Water Facility (AWF) grant of 3.549 million Euros to the Governments of Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania to finance the detailed design and implementation of the Songwe River Basin Development Programme (SRBDP).

The United Republic of Tanzania and Malawi jointly engaged in a preliminary study in 2001 and 2002 to address the frequent shifting of the international border between the two countries due to random meandering of the lower part of the Songwe river. As a result of this study, both countries submitted a funding request to the African Development Bank. After analysis, the Bank identified two key Facilities, namely the AWF and NEPAD-Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (IPPF) as possible sources of finance to respond to the request.

The overall goal of the proposed project is to contribute to economic growth, reduced poverty, improved health, better living conditions, and enhanced food and energy security for the people in the Songwe Basin as well as economic development of the two countries.

The objectives are to assist the two countries creating a long-term strategic framework, investment plans, and enabling environment for basin-wide socio-economic development based on joint management of the shared waters. The project also provides detailed designs and other preparations for capital investments in the order of 400 million Euros, including a multi-purpose dam, and associated hydropower schemes, irrigated agriculture, river stabilisation, flood control, fisheries development, water supply, and roads.

The total costs of the projects are estimated at 5.779 million Euros, and will be financed by contributions from the AWF (3.549 million Euros); the IPPF (1.226 million Euros), the Government of the Republic of Malawi (407,610 Euros); and 596,610 Euros from the United Republic of Tanzania. The project is expected to last 32 months.

The project corresponds to the focal areas of intervention of the Africa Water Vision 2025 fro equitable and sustainable use of water for socio-economic development and the priorities of the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW), and NEPAD on strengthened cooperative framework arrangement for transboundary water resources management, structural investments to enhance water and energy security, adaptation to climate variability risks.