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African Development Bank approves $24.7m for water project in South Sudan

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Young boys carry water water jerry cans in Juba (file photo Oxfam)
June 25, 2019 (JUBA)— The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on June 20, 2019, approved a proposal to commit $24.7 million to finance the South Sudan Strategic Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project, the regional bank said on Wednesday.

The Strategic Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project will support the rehabilitation of approximately 50km of the Juba town distribution network and related works, including metering and public water collections outlets. The project will also cover feasibility and engineering design for two other towns under the jurisdiction of South Sudan Urban Water Corporation. The project will additionally cover the development of solar-powered water distributions systems and sanitation and hygiene promotion in high-density rural communities surrounding Juba, as well as capacity development in the relevant water institutions.

Implementation will commence during the 2019/2020 financial year, with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the South Sudan Urban Water Corporation serving as the executing and implementing agencies, respectively.

South Sudan’s capital city of Juba, like many urban centres in the country, suffers from the effects of years of armed conflict and under-investment in the development and maintenance of basic water infrastructure. Increased numbers of displaced people and rapid urbanization have placed considerable strain on existing urban water supply infrastructure and the illegal supply of untreated water drawn from river Nile by private water tanker operators is common in the city and its suburbs.

On completion, the project will directly benefit 300,000 people in Juba and the surrounding rural Jubek state. The nearly $2 million grant will ensure that schools and communities in eight targeted rural areas of Jubek state, will benefit from 40 public/institutional latrines blocks to be constructed, as well as hygiene education.

“The incorporation of a rural water and sanitation component in areas that are relatively safe to reach indicates that the project opens a pathway for more support for rural WaSH going forward,” said Osward Chanda, Manager for the Water Security and Sanitation Division at the Department of Water Development and Sanitation.

“By helping to improve the quality and delivery of urban water supply services in Juba city and strengthening rural water supply and sanitation services, the project will greatly assist its target population,” said Bank Country Manager for South Sudan, Benedict Kanu. He added that it will help in combatting diseases, reducing health costs, improving quality of life, as well as helping women save time and increased convenience due to closer water supply outlets.

Since 2012, the Bank has contributed more than $136.79 million in development aid across various sectors in South Sudan. Bank support has focused on capacity building, infrastructure development, and creating conditions for promoting peace, stability and state building, among the Bank’s strategic priorities.

The project aligns with South Sudan’s National Development Strategy (2018-21) and the orientation of the Bank’s 2012-18 Country Strategy Paper, which was extended in May 2019 to 2021. Both strategies emphasize nation building through capacity building and infrastructure development.

(ST)

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