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PRESS RELEASE

Ethiopia: World Bank Approves Funds to Help Bring Clean Water to the Poorest Residents

March 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$205 million International Development Association (IDA*) credit to help the Government of Ethiopia increase access to clean drinking water and improve sanitation services for the poorest in the country. The project will focus equally on women and children who are typically responsible for fetching water for their families.

“The Government of Ethiopia has made steady progress in building a sustainable water system to provide access to clean water for many households,” says Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia. “We are happy to support this project that will bring improved health and water security to the rural and urban poor in Ethiopia, contributing to the country's rapid progress in meeting the millennium development goals related to water and sanitation access."

Today’s funds will support the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Project, designed to contribute to meeting Ethiopia’s One WaSH National Program (OWNP) and Growth and Transformation targets of 100 percent access to water and 84 percent improvement in household latrines by 2015.

The project will finance the construction of about 6,300 rural water schemes, and rehabilitation and expansion of water supply systems for about 70 towns.  In addition the project will finance the improvement of water supply for health clinics and schools. 

“Providing access to safe and sufficient water and improved sanitation and hygiene is essential for improving the health, well-being, and productivity of vulnerable populations,” says Tesfaye Bekalu, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “The project will also contribute to income generation by helping secure sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable people and catalyzing economic growth.” 

The project contributes to the Bank’s current Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) (2012-2015) for Ethiopia, emphasizing increased access to and improved quality of infrastructure services, in particular water supply and sanitation. The project’s works will connect approximately 2 million people to the formal water supply system in rural and urban areas of Ethiopia.

“The project builds upon the achievements of the recently completed Water Supply and Sanitation Project financed by the Government of Ethiopia, the British Department of International Development (DFID), and the World Bank, which contributed to a significant increase in access to sanitation.  By so doing, the project will enhance the wellbeing of women and children, who often bear the burden of securing household water supply and the most severe consequences of poor sanitation and hygiene.” says Sanyu Lutalo, the World Bank co-Task Team Leader for the project.

*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest loans and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $16 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/385/AFR