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The EBRD is lending US$1.2mn to improve the water supply infrastructure and distribution network in Khujand, Tajikistan’s second largest city. It will be the EBRD’s first municipal loan in Tajikistan and the first anywhere under the bank’s new ‘Early Transition Country’ initiative, put forward to tackle poverty in Tajikistan and six other countries of the region.

The loan, backed by a sovereign guarantee, will improve Khujand’s drinking water by installing new pumps and other equipment that should reduce water leakages and generally make the water supply more reliable.

Key elements of the project, whose total cost is estimated at US$5mn, are being supported by a grant from the Swiss government for capital investments and the provision of a “stakeholder-participation programme” to encourage greater public participation and ensure that poverty and subsistence issues are reflected in tariff reforms. The government of Norway will also fund a performance improvement programme for the Khujand Water Company.