Windhoek - Namibia last week received US$121 million (approximately R$2 billion) windfall from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to resuscitate its agriculture sector which was heavily battered by the worst drought in 90 years.
AfDB’s Gladys Wambui Gichuri, director of the Water Development and Sanitation Department, said the loan facility will go a long way in assisting the country to support its water programme.
Namibia has been facing severe water shortages which in some cases have seen other small towns rationing the precious liquid because of scorching heat which evaporated most of the country’s water reservoirs.
Ministry of Finance chief public relations officer, Tenanting Shidhudhu, confirmed the loan to The Southern Times, saying the government provide more information on the terms and conditions related to the facility in due course.
AfDB also said the programme will facilitate sustainable production and transfer of water resources to improve access to potable water and for agricultural and industrial use while enhancing sanitation in rural areas and enriching institutional capacity, sustainable management and utilisation.
“In particular, it seeks to increase access to sustainable water services from the current level of 85% and sanitation services from 54% to the universal 100% target by 2030. Namibia is grappling with a national water crisis due to severe droughts. The 2018/19 rainy season, one of the driest since 1981, only received 50% or less of average seasonal rainfall, thereby posing serious constraints to the Southern African nation’s economic, environmental and social development agenda,” Gichuri said.
The AFDB said the loan program, to be implemented over five years, entails the construction and rehabilitation of bulk water infrastructure and associated fixtures, construction of water supply schemes and climate resilient inclusive sanitation facilities, hygiene interventions and institutional capacity building initiatives.
“It is critical to improve sanitation, including reducing the number of people practising open defecation,” she said.
She also added that the project aligns to Namibia’s national development plans and a government priority to boost the availability and affordability of water as a basic element for making Namibia a prosperous and industrialized nation by 2030.
“The programme is building on innovative technology in sanitation in Namibia which treats its wastewater in Windhoek to potable standards and injects 30% of the recycled water into the system for distribution to consumers. The programme includes preparation of studies and designs for direct potable water reclamation in Windhoek to increase the existing capacity by 17,000 m3/day,” she said.
At completion in 2024, the interventions will directly benefit an estimated one million people and 250,000 indirect beneficiaries, mostly women. Rural residents will gain better health from improved environmental and sanitary conditions. Special focus will be given to vulnerable households within the program areas for improved sanitation facilities. It will also provide job opportunities and empower women and youth groups for possible business along the water and sanitation value chain.
The current loan is one in many of Namibia’s engagements with AfDB and also falls under the ongoing R$10 billion facility availed to the Namibian government to fund different developmental projects in the country.