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More than 120,000 households across Ethiopia are expected to benefit from significant new investment in water, wastewater and sanitation infrastructure. Three leading European development finance institutions today confirmed more than EUR 81 million of support for the upgrading programme to improve water services around the country by the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy.

The European Investment Bank, French Agency for Development (AFD – Agence Française de Developpement) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, represented in Ethiopia by the Italian Development Cooperation Local Technical Unit (IDC), announced the new backing on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Finance for Development currently being held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

“The European Investment Bank is very glad to be back in Ethiopia after many years to help finance a project in such a crucial sector as water and sanitation. Our engagement here shows our continued commitment to water investments across Africa and around the world. The programme that we’ve agreed to jointly finance today is expected to lead to improvements in health conditions and thus the quality of life of many Ethiopians.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice-President.

The new programme, which will include both technical assistance during its implementation and long-term loans, will provide new water and sanitation infrastructure as well as rehabilitate existing services in small and medium towns across Ethiopia. Expected to directly benefit more than 120,000 households, the scheme will be supported by the Water Resources Development Fund’s (WRDF), and technical assistance will also be provided to regional water authorities.

The three European partners today agreed to provide more than EUR 81 million to the programme. This includes EUR 40 million from the European Investment Bank, EUR 20 million from AFD and EUR 15 million from Italian development cooperation a further EUR 6,4 million in grant funding from the three partners will complement the loans.

Over the last five years the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 500 million to support water investment including in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in the Sahel, Cameroon in central Africa as well as Tanzania, Uganda, Lesotho and Zambia.

In 2014 the European Investment Bank provided more than EUR 2.5 billion to support infrastructure and private sector investment across Africa.