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AU, AfDB Ink Agreement for Improved Access to Rural Water Supply and Sanitation for 5 Million People


The Government of Rwanda, spearheading an African Union-led initiative, and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) have signed an agreement aimed at providing at least EUR 50 million (approx. USD 70 million) within an Africa-wide resource mobilization initiative. The initiative will finance improved access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa. The agreement was signed on the fringes of the 23rd AU Summit held from 26-27 June 2014 In Malabo (Equatorial Guinea).

The so-called “Kigali Action Plan” (KAP) aims to improve the livelihoods of five million people in 10 African Union Member States (including eight Fragile States). The KAP is intending to mobilise a part of the required funds by championing water and sanitation projects in Africa through a crowdfunding platform.  

“The RWSSI Trust Fund is a strategic vehicle”, said AfDB’s Vice President in charge of Agriculture, Water, Human Development, Governance and Natural Resources, who commended the AU and Rwanda for choosing the AfDB to host those funds. “With some EUR 140 million contributed to date by the Trust Fund Donors [Note to editors: Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland], we have been able to leverage a total of some EUR 5 billion for rural water supply and sanitation. The AfDB, through the RWSSI Trust Fund, has provided clean water for 82 million people and improved sanitation for 57 million”, Mr. Abou-Sabaa said.

Paul Kagame is championing the KAP, an initiative in response to the inaugural African Water and Sanitation Report submitted by the African Water and sanitation Ministers to the AU Assembly in January 2014, which indicated that Africa will miss the MDG targets for water supply and sanitation by gaps of 16 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. It also showed that expenditure was below requirements and highlighted the need to address tissues hindering the implementation of Africa’s commitments towards water and sanitation.

The Kigali Action Plan provides the combination of the much needed political leadership, commitment and innovation required to deliver the Water and Sanitation MDGs. It also focuses on the implementation of direct action at community level aimed at redressing rural household water supply and sanitation deficiencies in Africa.

The following ten countries, all of them considered to be off-track in achieving the MDGs, were selected: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Lesotho and Mauritania. With the exception of Lesotho and Mauritania these countries are regarded as fragile states.

The signing ceremony between the Government of Rwanda and the African Development Bank formalises the hosting of mobilised resources by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSSI) Trust Fund. The RWSSI Trust Fund, together with contributions from the AfDB, bilateral and multilateral agencies, African governments and communities aims to accelerate access to drinking water supply and sanitation in rural Africa in order to attain the MDG targets in 2015 and the African Water Vision targets of 2025.

Eligible activities for RWSSI-TF resources are water supply infrastructure specifically for off-track and fragile states, sanitation infrastructure, development of rural water and sanitation policies, programme and project preparation as well as capacity building and training.

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