On 26 November, Ambassador Gilles Hervio, Head of the European Commission Delegation, and Mr Jack Reversade, Regional Representative of the European Investment Bank (EIB), signed with Mr Amadou Ndiaye, Managing Director of Société Nationale des Eaux du Sénégal (SONES), two financing agreements in support of Senegal’s National Drinking Water and Sewerage Programme for the Millennium (PEPAM).The ceremony took place at 11 a.m. in the EC Delegation’s offices at 12 avenue Hassan II, and was followed by a press conference.

A European Development Fund (EDF) subsidy of CFAF 5.7bn (EUR 8.6m) and an EIB loan of CFAF 9.8bn (EUR 15m) complete the financing of SONES’s total investment programme of CFAF 38bn (EUR 58m).

The other financial contributions are coming from Agence française de Développement (AFD), the West African Development Bank (BOAD) and SONES itself, the programme’s contracting authority.

Under the project financed, more than 60 urban centres, including Dakar, will benefit from   schemes to rehabilitate, upgrade and extend the drinking water supply network. 

In addition to substantially improving the system (especially by reducing losses), the programme is designed to provide more than 500 000 people with better quality water, mainly through subsidised connections, but also through standpipes.

The programme, which is scheduled to be implemented over four years, aims to provide 98% of Dakar's population and 90% of the inhabitants of the inland centres with access to better quality water by 2011.The planned works comprise the creation of 25 new boreholes, construction of a water treatment plant, extension of the supply network by more than 500 km and installation of 50 000 subsidised connections and 360 standpipes.

The four finance providers involved (AFD, the EIB, BOAD and the European Commission) have undertaken to harmonise their procedures to facilitate the implementation of this important project.This is an innovative approach in Senegal and meets the commitments made under the Paris Declaration on the harmonisation of development aid.

The financing provided by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank is in line with their cooperation strategies aimed at contributing significantly to poverty reduction and achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Senegal.

The EIB has already granted two loans (EUR 15m in 1995 and EUR 16m in 2001) to the Senegalese Government under the PELT (Long-Term Water Project) to finance water supply services in Dakar.  The political will of the Senegalese Government, the financing of the previous programmes (PSE – Water Sector Project – and PELT) by a number of lenders at concessional rates, the facilities for onlending part of these loans to SONES and the public-private partnership that enables the network to be run by a private operator have all been key factors in the success of Senegal’s water sector reform.