The European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice President for Africa Pim van Ballekom on Friday paid a courtesy call to Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima as part of his three day visit to the warm heart of Africa and earlier Malawi and EIB signed a financing agreement worth K12 billion (US$27 million) towards the implementation of the Lilongwe Water Resources Efficiency project.
The resources, in form of a highly concessional loan with an interest rate of 1.5 and a repayment period of 25 years, intend to improve the investment in the Lilongwe Water Board so that the institution increases its water storage capacity at Kamuzu Dam and improve the water treatment facilities.
Chilima and Ballenkom discussed a number of development opportunities that Malawi can gain from the bank.
Ballekom is in Malawi for a three day official visit to the country, the first visit by high-level representatives of the largest lender for water investment worldwide.
During the visit the EIB delegation will also visit successfully completed water investment projects previously financed by the bank. The new initiative represents one of the first public sector projects to be supported by the EIB since 2008.
EIB says the crucial upgrading and improvements to the city’s water infrastructure will be managed by the Lilongwe Water Board over the next four years and increase water supply in low-income areas where services are currently limited as well as reducing water leakage.
“In this way the new investment will ensure efficient use of the existing water network and scarce water sources, as the city is dependent on water from the Lilongwe River.
“The project will both improve reliable water supply for customers and share water management best practice staff of the Lilongwe Water Board under a dedicated technical assistance programme,” said EIB in a statement to Nyasa Times.
The new support by European Investment Bank for crucial investment in the capital city has been formally agreed in Lilongwe by Ballekom and Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development for the Republic of Malawi.
“On behalf of the people and Government of Malawi, I am very happy to have signed this project which will help the Government address some of the bottlenecks facing the Lilongwe Water Board.,” said Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
In his remarks the European Investment Bank Vice President Pim van Ballekom said he is confident that the new project will improve the quality of water supply and waste water treatment in Lilongwe for many years to come.
“The European Investment Bank has a successful track record of supporting water investment that has helped to secure the supply of clean water to millions of people across Malawi. Our new engagement in the country demonstrates the EIB’s continued commitment to supporting water investment that improves lives across Africa and around the world,” he said.
He said being able to see at first hand the impact of previous water investment supported by the EIB in Malawi shows the crucial need to continue to upgrade existing water infrastructure and expand the supply of drinking water to more communities
Chief Executive Officer for the Lilongwe Water Board Alfonso Chikuni said the new investment project Lilongwe Water Board will close the gap between supply and demand by increasing the supply of quality water we will secure the supply clean drinking water for 250,000 people by 2021.
“This will involve addressing critical issues concerning water quantity and quality, quality of service, efficiency, and continued capacity building of the local water practitioners. We are proud of the strong history of partnership between the EIB and LWB, and we are very honoured for this cooperation to be strengthened today,” he said.
EU Ambassador to Malawi Marchel Gerrmann said: “Access to water remains a challenge for many Malawians but with EU and EIB support 372 public water kiosks have now been constructed in Lilongwe, providing safe drinking water for many thousands of Malawians.”
Over the last five years the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 500 million to support water investment including in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in the Sahel, Cameroon in central Africa as well as Tanzania, Uganda, Lesotho and Zambia.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :