Tunis, 23 January 2006 – Uganda is to get US$ 85.75 million from the African Development Bank Group to finance projects in education and water and sanitation following two protocols signed in Tunis on Monday.
The AfDB Acting Vice President in charge of West and Central Operations, Mr. Mohammed Gharbi signed the grant protocols amounting to 60 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to 85.75 million US dollars with Uganda’s Finance, Planning and Economic Development Minister, Mr. Ezra Suruma.
The first agreement involves a grant of 40 million UA to finance water and sanitation projects while the second is a grant of 20 million UA to fund the country’s Education III project.
"The grant earmarked for the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program will contribute, among others, to the development of over 3,500 boreholes, 4,000 protected springs, 500 ecological toilets and provide gender balanced support to domestic and school hygiene promotion throughout all rural districts," Mr. Gharbi explained.
He noted that the funding for the education sector comes at an opportune time when the government was urgently taking up the challenge of improving post-primary education and training under its education sector strategic plan 2004-2015.
In a statement, Mr. Suruma commended the ADB for the successful tenth replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the Bank group, which has made it possible for poor countries to benefit from financing of certain activities at 100% grant. "This was no doubt a milestone in the development of the ADB and a big step in placing highly concessional resources at the disposal of its well performing but highly indebted and poor lot of its members," he said.
The minister also praised the Bank’s Rural Water and Sanitation Initiative, describing it as "one of those well thought programmes of the Bank Group".
The Rural Water and Sanitation project was approved by the Board of the Bank in December 2005, to contribute to poverty eradication through improved public health by providing adequate sustainable safe water supply and sanitation services in rural communities.
The project involves provision of safe water and sanitation facilities, based on management responsibility and ownership by the users, within easy reach of 65% of the rural population (from 57% for water and from 56% for sanitation) by the year 2009 with an 80%-90% effective use and functionality of facilities.
The objective of the Education III project, which was also approved in December 2005, is to help improve access to quality secondary education to underserved communities through increased and equitable participation in a coherent and flexible education and training system relevant to Uganda’s development goals.
The Bank Group's operations in Uganda started in 1968. To date, the cumulative commitment of the Group in the country amounts to 888 million UA (about US$ 1.26 billion).
*1 UA = 1.42927 $US as at 01/01/2006