Access to drinking water in many African regions are limited. Image credit: African Development Bank

03 January 2021 – The Nordic Development Fund has granted funds to the tune of USD8.8-million towards the African Water Facility for Covid-19 recovery in the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions.

The Board of Directors of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) last month approved USD8.8 million in grant funding to the  African Water Facility (AWF) to bolster investments in Covid-19 recovery and preparation for investment of water supply, sanitation, and integrated water resources management projects in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

The AWF is a special fund established in 2005 by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and hosted and administered by the African Development Bank. The NDF, a Nordic international finance institution established by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden in 1988, focuses on the intersection of climate change and development in lower-income and fragile countries.

“We are pleased to build and leverage on our relationship with the AWF to support Build-Back-Better and Greener, climate-resilient approaches. We also welcome the possibility to provide access to Nordic knowledge, technology, and potential partnerships on innovative water and sanitation solutions by financing a long-term consultant,” says Karin Isaksson, MD at NDF.

The funds will support AWF’s COVID-19 Recovery Through Water and Sanitation in Africa program, an initiative that relies on a climate-resilient approach to prepare investment in water sector projects that will benefit the vulnerable and underserved poor urban communities, including the displaced, in the two targeted regions.

The proposed program advances an existing partnership of the African Development Bank, the AWF, the NDF, Denmark and other potential donors aimed at slowing and preventing transmission of Covid-19.

The program’s estimated budget is USD34.6-million, of which the Danish government will contribute a grant of USD23.8-million.  The Bank and AWF will provide a grant of USD1.1-million. Governments in the targeted areas are expected to provide in-kind contributions.

The Nordic Development Fund is a partner in a number of ongoing Bank trust funds, including the ClimDev Special Fund and the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund. NDF has previously extended grant funding to AWF to finance a call for proposals for preparation of a climate-resilient water infrastructure and water resource project in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“This grant will enable the African Water Facility to fulfill its mandate of investment-ready project preparation and its climate-resilient approach to interventions in water supply, sanitation, and integrated water resources management,” says the bank’s acting VP for agriculture, human and social development, Wambui Gichuri. “The bank is particularly pleased that the program will place a special emphasis on the needs of poor, underserved and displaced persons as well as on gender equity in access to water and sanitation; and facilitating job creation for youth and women.”

In the target countries, the average rate of access to safely managed drinking water facilities is 53.8%; the average rate of access to safely managed sanitation facilities is 23.4%; and the average proportion of population with handwashing facilities at home is 22.4%. This situation constrains the use of water and sanitation as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19 and other water-related infectious diseases.

The AWF assists African countries to mobilise financing and apply the funds to address water supply and sanitation needs, to enable the countries meet the African Water Vision 2025 as well as water-related Sustainable Development Goals.

 

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