The World Bank has announced a USD300 million loan for complementing Egypt’s current ‘’Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Programme’’, to support the government’s efforts to increase access to, and improve rural sanitation services in Egypt’s poorest governorates.
The original USD550 million programme was launched in 2015 in support of the government’s National Rural Sanitation Programme (NRSP), which aims to guarantee good quality sanitation services for a rural population of around 50 million Egyptians. The initial Bank programme focused on the priorities of connecting households near important waterways to improved sanitation systems, and decentralising sanitation services to make them more accessible to locals.
The programme has so far supported the launch of a performance-based grant system for local water and sewage companies, making significant progress toward the initial goal of connecting 167,000 rural households that make some 833,000 Egyptians. The additional financing will scale-up the programme to build on the momentum towards decentralising sanitation services and more than doubling the goal to 345,000 households, or around 1,710,000 Egyptians. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is co-financing the scaled-up program with USD300 million.
“Ensuring that every Egyptian has access to good quality sanitation services is a national priority,’’ said Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation who also represents Egypt on the World Bank’s Board of Governors. ‘’Our partnership with the World Bank through this program is providing vital support to reach this goal.”
While almost 90 per cent of urban households are connected to sanitation services, the figure drops to 18 per cent in rural areas.
The programme has supported the establishment of systems that allow local citizens to provide feedback on the decision making of local companies, thereby strengthening accountability. This improves the quality of services and ensures that investments are in line with local priorities.
“Making sure everyone has equal access to key services is essential for inclusive growth and shared prosperity,” said Samia Msadek , Acting World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti ‘’This is especially true for services that affect the health and well-being of the population, which Egypt has recognised with the launch of its ambitious project.”
The additional financing will also support the construction or upgrading of wastewater treatment facilities to appropriate standards. The programme will rely on local water and sanitation companies for both the household connections and the construction of sanitation infrastructure.
“The World Bank finances programs and projects to help Egypt reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity,” said Osama Hamad, World Bank Lead Water and Sanitation Specialist and Team Leader of the programme. “The focus of Bank support includes social safety nets, energy, transport, rural water and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation, housing, health care, job creation, and financing for micro and small enterprises. The World Bank currently has a portfolio of 16 projects with a total commitment of USD6.69 billion.
23 September 2018