The OPEC Fund for International Development has signed a US$15 million loan agreement with the government of Malawi to boost water supply and expand sanitation systems in Dowa Town and surrounding areas to improve health and living conditions for around 100,000 people. The OPEC Fund is also providing a US$350,000 grant to co-finance a technical and economic feasibility study for a new airport in Mzuzu City.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa signed the water and sanitation sector loan agreement during a visit to Malawi and said: “Clean water supply is essential for the wellbeing and livelihood of the local community and for overall social and economic progress. This is also reflected in Sustainable Development Goal #6 – ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’. For the OPEC Fund this project is a welcome contribution to the delivery of sustainable development and I take great pride in seeing the fruits of our partnership during my visit to Malawi.”
The sub-Saharan country of Malawi has made significant progress in terms of providing potable water to its population, with coverage of around 88 percent. There are, however, marked disparities among the geographic regions and income levels, particularly in terms of sanitation and hygiene services.
Dowa Town, situated in Malawi’s central region, lacks updated water treatment infrastructure. Meanwhile, sanitation facilities at the district hospital and the Dzaleka refugee camp are in particularly poor condition, resulting in a high incidence of waterborne diseases. The investment aims to secure total coverage and permanent access to water and sanitation facilities.
To that end, the project will include the construction of a water treatment plant with a production capacity of 14,300 m3/day, a pumping station and a 51 km-long distribution pipeline, as well as the installation of new communal water points and the rehabilitation of existing ones. Also included is the replacement of the sewage system at the Dowa district hospital and the installation of sanitation facilities at the Dzaleka refugee camp.
Feasibility study for new airport in Mzuzu City
In addition, the OPEC Fund is also supporting Malawi with a US$350,000 grant to co-finance a technical and economic feasibility study for a new airport in Mzuzu City, the capital of the northern region. The planned regional airport will provide reliable commercial and non-commercial air services and strengthen economic development.
To date, the OPEC Fund’s commitments to Malawi total US$207 million and helped bolster the country’s agriculture, education, health and transport sectors.