The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 102.5 million (ZMK 11,5 billion) concessional loan with the Zambian Ministry of Finance and the Lusaka Water & Sewerage Company (LWSC) in support of local sanitation infrastructure in the Zambian capital.

The Lusaka Sanitation Programme is part of the urgently needed reinforcement and expansion of the wastewater infrastructure in Zambia's fast growing capital Lusaka. While water supply has improved significantly in recent years, a lot remains to be done in terms of sanitation. The project is one of the few internationally funded activities in Zambia that address this problem. The infrastructure investments identified are in line with the Lusaka Sanitation Master Plan.

The project is expected to greatly contribute to economic and social development, due to the spill overs of sanitation infrastructure on health, environment, human development and virtually all other sectors of the Zambian economy. The conservation of the environment and the reduction of health risks related to water-borne diseases are likely to improve the quality of life for the population, especially in low-income and vulnerable areas.

The EIB has been involved from the beginning through technical assistance (through the EIB-EU ACP Water Project Preparation Facility), also allowing LWSC to attract grant and loan financing from other Cooperating Partners (including WB, AfDB, and KfW). In addition, a EUR 4.5 million grant, mobilised by the EIB to strengthen the project implementation capabilities of the promoter, will also be provided through EU funds.

EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom, responsible for operations in Southern and East Africa, commented: “We are happy to support the Zambian government in its quest for providing improved access to sanitation to all its citizens. Through the technical assistance and partnerships that surround this project, the bank was really able to show its added value and expertise in the sector. We hope that many similar projects around the continent will follow, in support of climate change mitigation and of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia, H.E. Alessandro Mariani, indicated that: "this new investment in Zambia by the European Investment Bank – the EU Bank – is another indicator of the quality of the solid and dynamic partnership between Zambia and the European Union. This project is very relevant to the people living in Lusaka as it is going to improve the quality of their daily life thanks to the direct positive impact of the new sanitation infrastructure both on their health and on the environment".

Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company acting Managing Director, Jilly Chiyombwe said: “The population and demand for sanitation services in Lusaka has been growing exponentially without corresponding investment to adequately service the people. Funding was a huge stumbling block in addressing this challenge as servicing all of the growing population of Lusaka requires huge capital investment. We thank the EIB not only for funding the project, but also for the technical support that we have continued to receive. Through the provision of adequate sanitation services, the LSP is also expected to improve Lusaka’s poor public health outcomes, in particular, the incidence of cholera, dysentery, typhoid, diarrhoea and environmental enteropathy, all of which have a strong impact on stunting levels and mortality rates in children under five.”

The project will support the development of two new wastewater treatment plants and the associated main collector sewers and sewage pumping stations in Lusaka. Apart from this, it will also help with the expansion of the sewerage system (up to 520km), rehabilitation and upgrade of the associated wastewater treatment ponds and construction of on-site sanitation facilities across the city. The project will more than double the existing sewerage network in the Zambian capital, potentially benefitting up to 525.000 people, many of which would receive first time access to reliable sanitation services.