The government of Niger’s efforts to improve the living conditions of the people have received a big boost from the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, following the approval of a grant to finance a water supply and sanitation project in three rural regions of the country.

The board of directors of the AfDB Group has approved a grant of 14mn units of account, equivalent to US$20.86mn (CFA10.56bn), to finance a rural drinking water supply and sanitation project in the country.

The overall goal of the project is to improve the living conditions of rural communities by providing them with sustainable access to safe water and sanitation.

The project will improve drinking water distribution as well as family and public sanitation in 280 rural communities in the regions of Maradi, Tahoua and Tillabri. It will also help in building management capacity of women involved in the rural water supply and sanitation sector.

The project is expected to assist in meeting the water supply and sanitation infrastructure needs of about 800,000 people by directly supplying drinking water to 146,000 individuals, family sanitation facilities to 86,000 people (about 14,300 households) and public sanitation facilities to the entire population. In this way, the project will contribute to the attainment of the MDGs that relate to drinking water supply in rural areas by 2% and by 0.4% for sanitation.

The project implementation and good management will lead to the reduction of water-related diseases, creation of new income-generating activities and employment in the villages. The construction of new socioeconomic infrastructure would improve living conditions; and ultimately provide villagers with the means to cater for their children’s schooling in a sustainable manner and at the same time, get access to improved health services.

The project will be co-financed with UA3mn sourced from the African Development Fund (ADF), the soft loan window of the Bank Group and UA11mn from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) Trust Fund.

Established in January 2006 by the AfDB, the RWSSI Trust Fund is a multi-donor fund, supported by Denmark, France and the Netherlands, to complement the AfDB financing of the RWSSI, to complement the AfDB financing of the RWSSI and to help the continent’s premier development finance institution to make greater impact in the provision of rural drinking water and sanitation in Africa.

The AfDB Group began operations in Niger in 1970. To date, the bank’s cumulative commitments in the country stand at US$508mn (CFA253.6bn) in 62 projects.