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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed two grant agreements with the Gambian government totalling USD 7 million to improve access to clean drinking water and better sanitation for an estimated 40,000 people in rural areas of the country and cut hygiene-related deaths in those areas, particularly among children.
The African Development Fund, the AfDB’s concessional or ‘soft loan’ arm, is providing USD 5 million and the remaining USD 2 million dollars will be provided by the AfDB’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund.
The funds will be used to build and rehabilitate drinking water supply and sanitation facilities in rural areas of the Gambia.
“Providing access to water supply and sanitation is one of the Bank’s top priorities” said Sering Jallow, AfDB Director, Water and Sanitation department and the African Water Facility. “The Bank is glad to partner with the Government of the Gambia to increase access to adequate services in rural areas, educate and empower populations and significantly improve their living conditions.”
The Gambia Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project will build capacity and provide safe drinking water, as well as promote hygienic/safe handling of drinking water, personal hygiene and sanitation practices in rural areas. This is expected to reduce hygiene related-deaths, which account for 20 percent of mortality of children under five.
“Clean water supply and sanitation is crucial in the realization our country’s development goals and poverty reduction strategies” said Mambury Njie, the Gambia’s minister of finance and economic affairs.
He added that: “This project will help reduce the stress on the country’s national budget, thus redirecting some of the health care budgetary allocations into other development activities; the government of the Gambia has made it a priority to provide clean water supply and sanitation for its people, especially in rural areas.”