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Denmark Supports African Water Facility For Climate-smart Services With $30m Grant

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Danish government has provided a $30.1 million grant for the African Water Facility for climate-smart water and sanitation services in four drought-prone countries in the continent.

The African Water Facility which is tagged, “Improving access to climate-resilient safe water supply and sanitation services in the Sahel and Horn of Africa programme”, is managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Established in 2005, the Facility assists African countries to mobilize financing, and to use the funds to address their water supply and sanitation needs. Its goals are aligned with African Water Vision 2025 targets as well as those of the Sustainable Development Goals pertaining to water.

The Facility has collaborated with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nordic Development Fund since 2020 on the Sahel and Horn of Africa programme. Meanwhile, Denmark, a founding member, has provided more than $37 million to the Facility; NDF’s contribution amounts to roughly $15.2 million.

The grant funding follows the signing in February 2021 of an agreement by the Nordic Development Fund and the African Water Facility for an $8.8 million grant, as part of the same programme.

The grant will benefit rural dwellers in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Somalia and the programme entails the rehabilitation, expansion and climate-proofing of water supply systems, sanitation and handwashing facilities. Moreover, it is expected to cover the period through 2025.

Chief Advisor in Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tobias von Platen-Hallermund said the Danish government is  particularly pleased to contribute to the programmme,  which is, according to him, fully aligned with the new Danish Strategy for Development Cooperation called, “The World We Share”.

“One of the strategic pillars of this strategy is climate change adaptation and improving access to clean water so that vulnerable households will continue to have access to drinking water despite water-related shocks such as floods or droughts”, he said,

He also disclosed that the programme is expected to drive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in the four target countries, in part by mobilizing new investment in climate resilient water and sanitation infrastructure.

“Regular handwashing with soap and water is a critical first line of defence against the virus. Unfortunately, even today millions of people around the world do not have access to clean water and handwashing facilities”, he added

Similarly, AfDB’s Director for Water and Sanitation Development, Osward Chanda welcomed the Danish financing, which will deliver better hygiene and access to water and sanitation to an estimated one million people.

“Thanks to the support from Denmark, the African Development Bank will prepare four to five bankable projects ready for financing”, he stressed.

He further explained that the programme will also provide technical assistance to institutions and support efforts to reduce climate-related flood and drought risks in the target countries.

In a related development, the AfDB has approved an equity investment pool of €10.5 million toward the first close of the Janngo Start-Up Fund, a pan-African tech start-up fund.

The pooled funds comprise €7 million provided by the AfDB and a €3.5 million contribution by the European Union (EU) and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

The Janngo Start-Up Fund, managed by Janngo Capital, builds, grows and invests in tech start-ups with proven business models and inclusive social impact. Its focus areas span agribusiness, financial services, energy, education, and healthcare, primarily in Francophone West Africa.

The Fund is also expected to enhance the private sector by deploying technology-enabled business models for small and medium enterprises that address the needs of underserved populations; create significant employment opportunities for youth and women, and improve the quality of life for Africans.

In addition, the pooled investment advances the ‘Boost Africa Programme’, a collaboration among the contributing partners and the European Investment Bank to back investment funds that target early-stage innovative enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa.

AfDB’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby said the Janngo Fund can drive the transformation from a more traditional business ecosystem into a dynamic, youth-driven, and technology-focused entrepreneurial community.

Africa is experiencing rapid mobile penetration with Android and other platforms. This provides huge opportunities to develop innovative and high-growth-driven start-ups and SMEs. But there is a severe scarcity of risk capital for the new and upcoming first generation of venture capital funds targeting early-stage businesses”, he said.

The bank’s support for the Janngo Start-Up Fund aligns with its jobs for youth strategy, as well as its support for private sector-led growth and entrepreneurship in African economies.

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