AfDB Board Approves US$ 205 Million Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Nigeria

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, on 26th March 2014, approved a US$ 205 million Urban Water Sector Reform and Port-Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project in Nigeria.

The Board registered its appreciation for the project’s alignment with the Bank’s mandate and strategy and also noted its integrated design, highlighting the pro-poor focus, capacity building for effective maintenance and support to sector reforms.

This project aims to provide residents of Port-Harcourt City in Rivers State with sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation and to strengthen the Federal government’s capacity to reform and scale up Water Supply and Sanitation service delivery across the country.

Commenting on the Board’s approval, Mohamed El Azizi, Director of the Bank’s Water and Sanitation Department, stated that the project is a timely response to a confirmed need in the Water sector, following discussions between the Federal Government, Rivers State Government and AfDB, which started in 2012.

He said: “The AfDB is proud to be collaborating with the Nigerian authorities on this project and we are bringing to the table a combination of our comprehensive approach to sustainable service provision; capacity to mobilize the significant funding needed to make a tangible difference; our experience from operations in Nigeria and other Regional Member Countries; and collaborative partnering with stakeholders in defining and implementing the project”.

The Urban Water Sector Reform and Port-Harcourt Water Supply and Sanitation Project addresses the rehabilitation and extension of the run down water supply system, as well as providing public sanitation and a pilot sewerage scheme. It also looks at the financial and commercial viability of the services provided through private sector, as well as environmental protection. It has a strong social focus, in order to ensure that the investment benefits all potential consumer groups, particularly low income households.

Currently, citizens of Port-Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs do not benefit from the existing water utility, as the infrastructure is generally run down. As in many cities across the country, most residents obtain water from vendors or private boreholes and wells, often paying high prices for water of unsafe quality. The successful implementation of this project will mean that Port-Harcourt citizens will benefit from increased quantity, quality and service hours of water supplied. This is expected to improve their health and productivity and residents will also gain better health from improved environmental and sanitary conditions.

The total project cost amounts to approximately US$ 346 million, of which the AfDB is financing US$ 205 million. Significant water sector reforms undertaken in Rivers State over the past few years have provided a sound basis for an investment project at this time. Upon receipt of a funding request from the Federal Ministry of Finance, the African Development Bank, in close collaboration with the Federal Government, worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition.

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