Zimbabwe and AfDB Sign US$30 million Agreement to Improve Water Supply and Sanitation

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Zimbabwean government have signed a US $30 million grant agreement in support of the urgent water supply and sanitation rehabilitation project (UWSSRP) in the country.  The UWSSRP is financed from the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (the Zim-Fund).

The agreement was signed on Friday June 10, 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal, by Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Tendai Biti and the AfDB’s Vice President for Operations, Aloysius Ordu.

The grant is further testimony to the strong commitment of the contributors to the Zim-Fund -  Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the AfDB - to support the people of Zimbabwe.

Speaking during the signing, VP Ordu praised the Zimbabwe government for its ongoing economic reforms, which had borne positive results, with lower inflation in 2010. He reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to the success of the Zim-Fund and its objectives. He said: “We wish to thank all the partners contributing to this initiative and we look forward to partnering and implementing more projects to help ensure the continued and sustained recovery of the infrastructure sector, and further contributing to the social and economic development of Zimbabwe.  Dealing with Zimbabwe’s external debt, currently at US$ 8.8 billion, is key to unlocking major financial resources to support recovery.

Once implemented, the project will improve the state of the water and sanitation infrastructure in Harare, Masvingo, Mutare, Chegutu, Kwekwe and Chitungwiza, and benefit more than 4.15 million people living in those cities.

Mr Biti recognized the project as “an essential and significant additional step” towards the restoration of basic services throughout his country. “The project will have real impact on men and women in the country,” he said. He also noted the need for his government to work towards the country’s arrears clearance as a significant step to accelerate recovery.

The Zim-Fund was established in May 2010 and formally launched in Zimbabwe by the AfDB’s President, Donald Kaberuka, in March 2011.