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The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Tunisian government and the National Sanitation Authority, on 1 March, signed a loan agreement and guarantee agreement for €32.5 million (Tunisian dinars 64.45 million) to finance a waste water treatment infrastructure rehabilitation project across the country.
The project will improve the quality of treated water used to irrigate 8,500 hectares of farmland and open land.
The re-use of water for agriculture in Tunisia is crucial. Farming is a key economic activity in the country but it consumes almost 80 percent of increasing scarce ground and surface water. Also the demand for water in Tunisia is growing.
In response, the Tunisian authorities plan to increase the annual supply of treated water by 132 million cubic metres, to irrigate 25,000 hectares of land.
This operation involves 30 treatment plants across the country. Some four million people in urban and rural areas and about 4,000 farmers will benefit from the project.
Gilbert Mbesherubusa, AfDB acting Vice President, signed the loan agreement with Khalil Attia, chief executive officer of the National Sanitation Authority. He also signed the guarantee agreement with Bettaieb Riyadh, minister of investment and international cooperation.
Mr. Mbesherubusa said project "will strengthen the support provided by AfDB since 1966 to Tunisia's efforts to promote its economic and social development."
For his part, the minister expressed his appreciation to AfDB "for its continued support in the post-revolution era." Mr Attia stressed the importance of this project for his authority, and represented a landmark as the beginning of cooperation with AfDB.