Marie Sall woke up before dawn hoping to fill a barrel while the water was running, so that her household of seven could drink and wash all day. But the taps have been empty for weeks in the Pikine district of Saint-Louis, a town in northern Senegal.
“This is not life,” she says, as she shares among her five children a bottle of water generously offered by her neighbour. Sall has no choice but to spend the rest of the day fetching water, just so that her family can survive.
Fresh hope takes the shape of a €64.5 million European Investment Bank loan coupled with a €5.55 million European Union grant to the Republic of Senegal . The financing will bring drinking water to Sall’s family, all the residents of Saint-Louis, and two towns in Senegal’s centre and south, Kaolack and Kolda.
“Water is life. I’m proud to be part of a project which has helped vulnerable communities in Senegal. We stood side-by-side with our African partners and responded to the Covid-19 challenging times,” says François-Xavier Parant, the senior European Investment Bank loan officer who worked on this operation.
The EU bank began working in Senegal in 1966 and today it’s one of its strongest partners. This loan will help Senegal guarantee water for all, as a population boom and severe droughts intensify pressure on scarce water resources.