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Four Ethiopian towns will achieve universal coverage for water supply and sanitation by 2020 through a new loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Approved on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, the USD 76.11-million loan will improve the lives of nearly one million people in the towns of Adama, Adwa, Bichena and Gode and the nearby villages.
“The project will help increase both water supply and sanitation coverage to 100%,” said Mohamed El Azizi, Director, Water and Sanitation, at the AfDB.
With an average access of 53% for water supply and 76% for sanitation, the four towns are lagging behind the national average (84.5% for water supply), with in some cases access below 7%.
The program will help improve the health and socio-economic development of the population of the four beneficiary towns through increased access to sustainable water supply and sanitation services and improvement in the quality of service delivery.
All of the beneficiary towns are growth centres, with huge investment potential in various sectors such as industry (most notably textile), livestock and tourism.
The project will hence have a significant impact on economic development and unleashing the potential for private sector involvement in developing these towns (635,000 inhabitants) and their surrounding areas (population: 227,000).
The program will be critical in promoting women’s empowerment. In the four towns, women and children, particularly girls, are the main collectors of water, particularly in times of shortage. In addition, due to the common use of untreated and inadequate water for domestic use, water-borne diseases are among the top five diseases in these towns. This affects women disproportionately as they have to shoulder the burden of caring for ill household members. Improved water supply will also enable health facilities to deliver improved quality of services, particularly in the maternity wards.
Increased availability of water should also result in increased employment opportunities for women, through increased investments, as in the case of Almeda textile factory in Adwa, which employs a large proportion of women.
Ethiopia has boldly committed to achieve universal water supply and sanitation services to its citizens by 2020. Water is one of the priority sectors to help achieve inclusive, accelerated and sustained economic growth and to eradicate poverty.
The total cost of the project is USD 114 million, co-financed by the AfDB (67%) and the Ethiopian Government (33%).