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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a loan of US $211-million to help address the urgent need for improved water and sanitation in the city of Arusha in Tanzania. The sum represents 90% of the cost of the Tanzanian Government program to alleviate the threat of major environmental and health issues and improve the quality of life for Arusha inhabitants.
Arusha is a major regional hub. Since 2010, the Arusha Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority service area has almost expanded to cover 208km, yet the existing sanitation network covers only the Central Business District of the city and serves only 7.6% of the inhabitants. Capacity is severely stretched and the existing sewage treatment ponds are critically overloaded. Water coverage is also an issue, with less than 44% of Arusha inhabitants currently served. Consequently, it is estimated that water-borne diseases in the area account for about 40% of per capita health expenditure.
Accordingly, this strategic AfDB investment is designed to enable transformative improvement of water and sanitation services across Arusha city.
Over the program horizon, the improved facilities will benefit a resident population of more than 600,000 people in Arusha city and 250,000 additional people who commute to the city for business purposes. A new sewerage treatment pond system will be a major contribution to service delivery.
In line with the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy to promote inclusive growth, the program includes targeted solutions in areas not covered by the sewerage system, in order to respond to the needs of all groups, including the economically disadvantaged. 100 sanitation blocks for Arusha city schools are budgeted in the sanitation program.
Improved access to water and sanitation services will complement other social services and will have significant gender dimensions. In Tanzania, women spend considerable time and energy collecting water and caring for family members suffering from water-related illnesses.
Improved water and sanitation in Arusha will lead to a reduction of sickness and associated health-care costs. It would also give women more time for productive endeavors such as adult education, empowerment activities and leisure.
Mohamed El Azizi, Director of the AfDB Water and Sanitation Department, said “The AfDB is a key member of the water sector dialogue with the Tanzanian Government and a long-term contributor to rural water and sanitation programs, with support from AfDB’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative. The AfDB Tanzanian field office will play an important role in the implementation and monitoring of the works”.