The Danish government has provided a $30.1 million grant to the African Development Bank-managed African Water Facility to enhance access to quality water and sanitation for Africans living in four arid and drought prone countries.
The grant will benefit rural dwellers in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Somalia under the Facility’s Improving access to climate-resilient safe water supply and sanitation services in the Sahel and Horn of Africa program. The grant is expected to cover the period through 2025.
The program entails the rehabilitation, expansion and climate-proofing of water supply systems, sanitation and handwashing facilities.
"We are particularly pleased to contribute to this program, which is fully aligned with the new Danish Strategy for Development Cooperation called ‘The World We Share,’” said Tobias von Platen-Hallermund, Chief Advisor in Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “One of the strategic pillars of this strategy is climate change adaptation and improving access to clean water so that vulnerable households will continue to have access to drinking water despite water-related shocks such as floods or droughts."
The program is expected to drive recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in the four target countries, in part by mobilizing new investment in climate resilient water and sanitation infrastructure. “Regular handwashing with soap and water is a critical first line of defence against the virus. Unfortunately, even today millions of people around the world do not have access to clean water and handwashing facilities,” von Platen-Hallermund noted.
Osward Chanda, African Development Bank Director for Water and Sanitation Development, welcomed the Danish financing, which will deliver better hygiene and access to water and sanitation to an estimated one million people.
"Thanks to the support from Denmark, the African Development Bank will prepare four to five bankable projects ready for financing,” Chanda said.
The program will also provide technical assistance to institutions and support efforts to reduce climate-related flood and drought risks in the target countries.
The grant funding follows the signing in February 2021 of an agreement by the Nordic Development Fund and the African Water Facility for an $8.8 million grant, as part of the same program.
The African Water Facility has collaborated with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nordic Development Fund since 2020 on the Sahel and Horn of Africa program.
The African Water Facility, established in 2005, assists African countries to mobilize financing, and to use the funds to address their water supply and sanitation needs. The Facility’s goals are aligned with African Water Vision 2025 targets as well as those of the Sustainable Development Goals pertaining to water.
Denmark, a founding member, has provided more than $37 million to the African Water Facility; NDF's contribution amounts to roughly $15.2 million.