>@Tim Smit/EIB

The European Investment Bank has signed a EUR 20.5 million loan agreement with the Malawian Ministry of Finance in support of the Northern Regional Water Board.

The loan will support the Ministry’s 2016-2019 investment programme, which aims to optimise the use of available water resources as well as increase the supply capacity, to bridge the gap between supply and demand for the populations of the cities of Mzuzu, Ekwendeni, Chitipa and Mzimba in the north of the country. The project mainly consists of upgrading and extending the water distribution system, upgrading water treatment works, reducing leakages, and improving network management and water supply to low income areas.

EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom, responsible for operations in Southern and East Africa, commented: “Access to clean water is a necessary condition for the economic development of any country. By enhancing the quality, security of supply as well as the accessibility of this basic need, this project supports the government’s Growth and Development Strategy, which aims to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth and infrastructure development. The EIB has been there for the Malawians in recent years and will continue to support the country wherever possible.”

At project completion, some 260,000 people will benefit from improved water services, not only from a sanitary point of view, but also in terms of logistics. Through the creation of new water connections, families will require less time to fetch water from often unsafe water sources, thus enabling them to engage more in productive activities. The EIB will also provide a EUR 1.9 million grant to strengthen the project implementation capabilities of the promoter.

On the occasion of the signing of the loan agreement and grant, a technical assistance operation was also formalised with the Ministry of Transport and Public Works to ensure financing for technical assistance in the implementation of critical aviation safety and security equipment at both of Malawi’s international airports.

The EU ambassador to Malawi, Marchel Germann, indicated that: "The agreements being signed today illustrates the growing portfolio of the EIB in Malawi and the high level of complementarity between the EIB loans and the grants managed by the EU Delegation. These agreements will build on and complement ongoing interventions supported by the EU and EIB in both water and aviation sectors".

In the last decade, the EIB has provided over EUR 120 million in financing to support projects in Malawi. This has included projects to provide access to water as well as the agristorage facility, signed last year.