AFRICA – The U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has provided US$25 million to WaterEquity Fund, a facility designed to support institutions that finance water and sanitation projects in Africa and other regions of the world.
The US$25 million is the first tranche of a US$100 million loan.
“At least five million people will be able to access improved water and sanitation services on these three continents,” said the DFC.
The loan is being provided with “the issuance of fixed income instruments in accordance with the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) guidelines on sustainable bonds. As placement agent for the transaction, BofA Securities is managing the sale and pricing of the US$100 million instruments,” said Algene Sajery, DFC’s vice president of external affairs.
On the African continent, the provision of improved water and sanitation services will reduce the rate of waterborne diseases, currently at 80% according to World Bank.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region of concern with only 28% of the population having access to basic sanitation facilities and 32% still practising open defecation with faecal sludge is mostly found in waterways, making the resource unsafe.
“At least five million people will be able to access improved water and sanitation services on these three continents”
The disbursement of US$25 million by the DFC is part of a WaterEquity financial mobilisation.
On April 23rd, 2021, the fund secured US$125 million in investments to reach a total of US$150 million.
The Covid-19 health crisis reminded us of the importance of handwashing in Africa and paradoxically, the fight against the coronavirus has accelerated access to drinking water in several regions of Africa, especially south of the Sahara.
Despite these recent advances, the United Nations (UN) estimates that one in four Africans still lacks a safe source of drinking water.
Furthermore, the international organisation points out in its Water Development Report (2019) that unequal access in Africa is ultimately a gender issue.
Women and girls overwhelmingly bear the brunt of the burden of water collection, spending more than 30 minutes a day (on average) at the expense of their education.
According to UNICEF, Africa is still far behind in all the areas of clean water access and sanitation.
In countries like Nigeria, for example, diarrhoea causes the death of more than 70,000 children under the age of five each year, as reported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
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