AfDB Approves US$ 96 Million ADF Loan and Grant for Thwake Multi-Purpose Water Development Program – Phase I

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 in Tunis, a US$ 94.37 million (UA 61.68 million) ADF loan and US$ 1.85 million (UA 1.21 million) ADF grant to the Government of Kenya to finance  phase one of the Thwake Multi-purpose Water Development Program (TMWDP).

The objective of the project is to increase water storage for rural and urban human consumption, for irrigation and livestock and for hydropower, with a principal focus on the semi-arid counties of Kitui and Makueni, and the ICT city of Konza.

The Thwake Multi-purpose Water Development Program (TMWDP) comprises a multi-purpose dam for water supply, hydropower generation and irrigation development. It will also provide regulation of flows on Athi River downstream of the dam for flood and drought mitigation. 

It targets broad improvement in productivity and livelihoods over a ten-year period (2013-2023). The Program recognizes the symbiotic relationship between Kenya’s water secure and water insecure regions by spanning both the lower and higher levels of the economy to ensure that national economic growth is both inclusive and sustainable.

The four phases, which were developed by a team from the Bank’s Water, energy and agriculture departments comprise: (1) construction of a 77 m high multi-purpose dam and associated preliminary works needed to enable the other three phases, plus implementing an Environmental and Social Management Plan, (2) water works to treat and distribute up to 34.6 thousand m3 of water to 674.7 thousand rural inhabitants of Kitui and Makueni Counties, and up to 117.2 thousand m3 to 640 thousand inhabitants of Konza City; (3) hydropower and substation development for up to 20 MW of installed capacity, and (4) irrigation works for up to 40,075 hectares of land in Kitui and Makueni counties. 

The Program is aligned with Kenya’s Vision 2030 and its Medium Term Plan II 2013 – 2017 (MTP-II) both of which underscore the central role water plays in the performance of key sectors of the economy. The strategies further highlight the consequences of underinvestment in: water resources development infrastructure as a fundamental need for productive livelihoods; irrigation and hydropower developments on food and energy security; and ICT for its ability to place Kenya in a leading role of regional economic significance. The MTP-II further provides for irrigation of an additional one million acres (404,685 hectares) by the year 2018, the development of Konza City as an ICT hub, and provision of low cost electricity to rural households, promoting inclusive growth, green growth and addressing climate change. The 2010 Constitution also provides for economic and social rights which include access to reasonable standards of sanitation and access to clean and safe water in adequate quantities.

The Program is closely aligned to the Bank’s ten year development Strategy 2013-2022 and fits with the Kenya’s current 2008 – 2013 CSP Pillar I focusing on infrastructure improvement for competitiveness and enhanced regional integration and, Pillar II which addresses employment creation and poverty reduction.

For Kenya, the Thwake multi-purpose dam is a flagship operation in the draft National Water Master Plan 2030. It is aligned to the government’s new Water Security and Climate Resilience program (WSCRP) financed by the World Bank whose twofold focus is to enhance the institutional framework and strengthen capacity for water security and climate resilience as well as promote irrigation.

The program’s target beneficiaries include some 674,700 people in the rural areas of Kitui and Makueni (with poverty rates of 62.5% and 63.8%, respectively) and the 640,000 potential occupants of land reserved for the new urban ICT city of Konza. Other beneficiaries include institutions managing water resources in Athi River Basin as well as the entire Kenyan economy. 

The estimated cost of the four phases of Thwake Multi-Purpose Water Development Program is UA 487 million.

The cost for phase 1 is estimated at UA 179.29 million. The Bank will finance UA 60.00 million from ADF 12 Performance Based Allocation for Kenya, and UA 1.68 million as loan and UA 1.21 million as grant from Redeployment from cancelled resources, for a total Bank contribution of 35.1% of estimated Phase 1 costs.