ANGOLA – The government of Angola has secured a new US$1.1 billion financing package from the World Bank and the French Export Credit Agency to enable the completion of its’s mega Bita drinking water project.
This is part of a US$1.1 billion financial transaction, consisting of a US$910 million loan from the World Bank through its subsidiary, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
The other part of the loan is provided by the French Export Credit Agency.
Standard Chartered, a British multinational banking and financial services company, arranged the entire transaction and the financing will improve the supply of drinking water in several districts of Luanda.
“The funds will be used for the construction of water production, transport and distribution facilities. This includes a drinking water station and storage tanks,” says Standard Chartered.
All the facilities will provide drinking water to 2 million of Luanda’s 2.7 million people.
The loan from the World Bank and the French Export Credit Agency comes six months after the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) loan in February 2021.
The US$1.3 billion package will support development initiatives in Angola, including the Bita drinking water project in Luanda.
French environmental giant Suez is implementing the project in partnership with Mota Engil, a Portuguese construction company, and Soares da Costa, a civil construction company based in Porto, Portugal.
It will benefit 7.5 million Angolans.
The Covid-19 health crisis reminded us of the importance of handwashing in Africa and paradoxically, the fight against the coronavirus has accelerated access to drinking water in several regions of Africa, especially south of the Sahara.
Despite these recent advances, the United Nations (UN) estimates that one in four Africans still lacks a safe source of drinking water.
Furthermore, the international organization points out in its Water Development Report (2019) that unequal access in Africa is ultimately a gender issue as women and girls overwhelmingly bear the brunt of the burden of water collection, spending more than 30 minutes a day (on average) at the expense of their education.
While this picture may be pessimistic, it is worth noting that some major initiatives have been launched in certain countries of the continent to improve or secure access to drinking water.