World Bank to Finance New Kenyan Water Infrastructure For More Irrigation, Agriculture, and Jobs

June 18, 2013

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 - The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors today approved US$155 million IDA* credit to support the Government of Kenya’s efforts to support new water infrastructure, including in water storage and irrigation, and build capacity in water institutions.

“Kenya is a water scarce nation with over 80% of its land considered to be arid or semi-arid,” said Diariétou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “Today’s financing will help the Government of Kenya to move forward on its plans to manage its water resources, and develop a pipeline of water investments that will help improve the country’s water security and climate resiliency.”

The IDA credit will finance the first operation under the Government’s Kenya Water Security and Climate Resilience Program, a long-term, transformational program aimed at achieving water security and resilience to climate variability and change throughout the country.

“Kenya’s people and economy are highly vulnerable to erratic climatic patterns and limited water availability,” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development with the Africa Region. “This project will facilitate the development of Kenya’s water-related sectors, including agriculture, water supply and tourism, and bring food and jobs to the country’s population.”

This first operation will include an irrigation scheme on the Lower Nzoia River located in Siaya and Busia Counties in Western Kenya. This is a flagship project of the Kenya Agricultural Sector Development Strategy, and is expected to contribute to food security, economic growth and enhanced climate resilience for farmers.

“The Lower Nzoia Irrigation Scheme is aimed at ensuring water supply for high value crops such as fruit and vegetables, as well as crops that are diet staples for Kenyans, such as soybeans, cereals and other legumes,” said Gustavo Saltiel, World Bank Team Leader for the project. “We look forward to working with the Government of Kenya as it implements this project.”

The operation will also support the progressive development of an investment pipeline in the water sector, as well as the enabling institutional and information base to ensure that water investments are sustainably planned, developed and maintained for long-term prosperity. This includes supporting reforms in the water sector resulting from the 2010 Constitution, which calls for more inclusive political, economic and social institutions, including through the devolution of power to country governments. 

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) 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 $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

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