Switzerland commits USD20 million to AfDB for increased access to water and sanitation in rural Africa

25/11/2011
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The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Trust Fund, a fund managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), will receive a 20 million US dollar contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The funds are to help accelerate access to water supply and sanitation in rural Africa. This is the Swiss agency’s second contribution to the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund. It is close to six times the amount of its first contribution.

The funds will support the African Development Bank’s strategy to engage governments and donors in mobilising and facilitating the flow of resources to accelerate investment in rural water supply and sanitation in Africa. Its goal is to reach 80 percent coverage by 2015. The initiative supports the pursuit and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the African Water Vision, with a focus on rural areas, home to some 60 percent of the African population.

“The AfDB welcomes this second contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation. It is a testimony to the important role that the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative plays in accelerating access to basic water and sanitation services,” said Sering Jallow, director of the AfDB’s Water and Sanitation department and the African Water Facility. “We look forward to continued collaboration with our Swiss partners to successfully reach those millions more who are still underserved.”

Since the inception of the Initiative, 31 programmes in 23 African countries have been approved. Of this number, half are already delivering water services to some 33 million people and providing sanitation to over 21 million, at the end of June 2011.

“We do see this as the expression of the strong will of Switzerland to contribute to the alleviation of the African crisis in water and sanitation, in particular also in rural and remote areas,” said  Hansjurg Ambuhl, head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s West Africa department. “Support to enhanced access to drinking water and sanitation positively impacts on health, rural development and sustained access to education, which is corresponding to our priorities in development cooperation with our partner countries in Africa.”

In addition to this financial contribution, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation envisages providing support to monitoring and evaluation as well as to country-led implementation. This includes support at a decentralized level to ensure sustainable results on the ground.