World Bank gives Malawi $145 million grant
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) on Thursday approved a $145 million (about K150 billion) grant for Malawi which seeks to help nearly half a million people in the city of Blantyre access safe water, sanitation services and improved solid waste management services.
A statement from Washington DC said the project aims to improve water supply and sanitation services and enhance the operational and financial efficiency of Blantyre Water Board (BWB)
The grant comes at a time Blantyre’s water supply system is under severe strain, a situation that is expected to worsen with increasing climate change impacts such as the recent Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
Further, BWB faces major operational and financial challenges which impede the reliable supply of water to the city.
“Additionally, poor sanitation is a major public health issue such that when the city experiences flooding, uncollected solid waste ends up in sewers, drainage systems and water bodies, further exacerbating the floods and increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.
“The project is therefore designed to address the immediate and medium-term water security and sanitation needs and support a long-term solution through the construction of new water sources, independent power sources for water supply infrastructure, network upgrades and improvement in efficiency, sewerage system upgrades, and solid waste management improvements,” the bank said.
World Bank Country Manager Hugh Riddell says from the ongoing cholera outbreak and the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Freddy, poor access to water and sanitation translates into immediate and major public health issues.
Riddell says the new Water and Sanitation Project aims to address the underlying structural issues to build resilience to external shocks, including through the institutional strengthening of BWB itself.
Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe said the assistance will immediately go towards alleviating the suffering of our people, especially those affected by Cyclone Freddy.
The six-year project, to be implemented by BWB and Blantyre City Council, will focus on investments in water production, network stabilisation, leak reduction, renewable energy sources and water network expansion to unserved areas.
It will also contribute to the rehabilitation and upgrading of sewer network and connections, institutional development, and a contingency emergency response to support preparedness and rapid response measures to address disaster, emergency and/or catastrophic events.
The project is part of the Series of Projects (SOPs) proposed by the Government of Malawi to support the development of a national water programme and to increase water supply and sanitation access by combining various financing instruments to maximise investment efficiency and incentives for strengthening institutional capacity, operational and financial efficiency, and service quality.
IDA was established in 1960 and helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.