Board approves socio-economic infrastructure reinforcement project in DRC

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) met in Tunis on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 in Tunis, and approved US $161.92 million to finance the reinforcement of socio-economic infrastructure in the Central Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC will receive three grants and one loan amounting to US $161.92 million (UA 100 million plus €5.95 million) to finance the reinforcement of socio-economic infrastructure for drinking water supply and sanitation, health, education, roads, bridges, and micro hydroelectric power plants and electricity in the two Kasai provinces in the country’s Central Region with a population of 8.2 million (12% of the country’s population).

The project comprises a rural component and an urban component.

The rural component is based on the National Rural Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Programme prepared with African Development Fund financing as a component of the country’s 2013-2017 Five-Year Plan of the National Healthy Villages and Schools Programme (PVEA).

The good performance of the programme launched in 2006 with donors’ support recorded considerable success during its first phase (2008-2012) making it a driving force for addressing the challenge of improving general health indicators in the country through sustainable access to water and sanitation and the adoption of good hygienic practices.

The urban component involves (i) the construction of the drinking water supply system of the Mbuji-Mayi town, the region’s main urban centre, in coordination with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the German Government-owned development bank KfW; and (ii) electrical power supply to help operate the drinking water system of Tshikapa town being constructed under the Semi-Urban Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Project (PEASU).

The project is in line with the DRC’s Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP 2011-2015), particularly its third pillar relating to “Improvement of Access to Basic Social Services as well as Improvement of Human Capacity”. The project concerns the Centre Region that covers the Ilebo–Tshikapa–Kananga–Mbuji-Mayi area, which is one of the Government’s five priority development areas for the 2012-2016 period. It is part of the National Healthy Villages and Schools Programme which is included in the GPRSP as a priority action for rural drinking water supply.

It is consistent with the Bank’s intervention strategy in DRC (CSP 2013-2017), particularly its pillar 1 which focuses on the “Development of Private Investment and Regional Integration Support Infrastructure”. It is localized in the Central Region, the development area targeted by the CSP, which has proven agricultural production potential and whose population depends mainly on trade in agricultural, fishery and handicraft products between rural areas and the urban centres of border countries.

The direct beneficiaries of project outcomes are estimated at about 3.3 million people. These include support to the economic empowerment of women and youths through: (i) studies on opportunities, gender planning and budgeting by 2030; (ii) training focused on income-generating activity (IGA) initiatives; (iii) the construction and equipping of a Multipurpose Gender Centre; and (iv) the establishment of an experimental micro-project fund for associations of women, fishermen and youths. The project is, therefore, in line with the thrusts of the Bank’s 2013-2022 Strategy which prioritizes greater commitment in fragile states and infrastructure development for inclusive growth. It is consistent with the Bank’s Urban Development Strategy and the Strategic Plan of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative.

The project will be financed with an African Development Fund (ADF) loan of UA 1.475 million* accruing from the cancellation of the balance of a previous UA 27 million loan for PMURIS; (ii) an Fragile States Facility (FSF) grant of UA 55 million; (iii) an ADF grant of UA 43.525 million from the UA 43.020 million country allocation under ADF-12 and the cancellation of UA 0.505 million; and (iv) a Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) grant worth EUR 5.95 million. Given DRC’s economic situation, the national counterpart contribution has been limited to the provision of premises to house the project head office.

* As of 27 November 2013, 1 Unit of Account = US $1.53804