Washington — The World Bank has approved a credit of US$250 million from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help the Nigerian Government continue its efforts to increase access to water supply services and to improve the financial and management viability of existing water utilities.
The funds will target the poor, urban population living in the state capitals and their surroundings, and will benefit some two million people.
Today's credit supports the Third National Urban Water Sector Reform Project and responds to the Government of Nigeria's goal of developing more effective mechanisms for social service delivery, particularly water service, as a means to address inequities in income and opportunities.
The funds will help rehabilitate and build the water delivery infrastructure and institutional systems needed to expand access to water supply services for people in selected cities in Bauchi, Ekiti, and Rivers States.
A portion of the project is performance based and will include incentives for improving the performance of the water supply institutions in the three states.
"Today's project builds on past experience which has shown that building water infrastructure without strengthening the capacity of the institutions responsible for managing water supply to the targeted areas does not lead to sustainable results", said Marie Françoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.
She added "We therefore hope that the new strategy which puts more emphasis on this integrated approach will contribute to l improve the health and economic well-being of the country's poorest and more vulnerable particularly women and girls who spend a lot of time fetching water.
A second project component will provide technical and financial assistance to State Governments and water utilities in Kano, Gombe, Benue, Jigawa, Ondo, Abia, Bayelsa, Anambra, and Plateau states to help prepare them for large water supply investments that could be financed in the future.
The Government's Federal Ministry of Water Resources, tasked with providing sustainable access to safe and sufficient water to all Nigerians, will also benefit from strengthened capacity to monitor and benchmark the water sector's performance and accordingly, increased accountability from the States for their performance.
"Women and children in Nigeria spend hours each day carrying water for their family's use," said Miguel Vargas-Ramírez, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. "By improving water service delivery, this project will help open up time for the poor to pursue education and income-generating activities, and provide them with a better chance to boost themselves out of poverty."
"The many activities funded by today's project will also contribute to improving Nigeria's progress towards meeting its Millennium Development Goal with respect to access to improved water supply service," said Hassan Madu Kida, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project.
The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world's poorest countries by providing zero-interest loans and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people's lives.
IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world's 82 poorest countries, 40 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day.
Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $16 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.