World Bank Expands Water Access in Mozambique’s Nampula and Zambezia Provinces

WASHINGTON — The World Bank approved today a $150 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA)* in support of the Government of Mozambique’s Rural and Small Towns Water Security Project, which aims at increasing access to improved water supply and sanitation services in selected small towns and rural areas of Nampula and Zambezia provinces in northern Mozambique.

Together, these two provinces are home to 39% of the country’s population, yet have the lowest access rates to safe water supply and sanitation services. The northern provinces of Mozambique have the highest rates of multi-dimensional poverty and the lowest rate of access to basic services such as water, sanitation, and electricity. These social vulnerabilities are exacerbated by conflict, frequent climate shocks, and minimal basic service provision.

“Improving water security in small towns and rural areas will boost the country’s overall economic growth and has major positive externalities in terms of poverty reduction and human capital development,” noted Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and Seychelles. “For rural women and girls, closer water availability means less time spent fetching water. By rehabilitating and upgrading 179 school sanitation facilities, including menstrual hygiene management facilities in schools, this operation will mean less menstrual-induced school absenteeism and dropouts for girls.”

The project will invest in water and sanitation infrastructure in 17 small towns in the provinces of Zambezia (seven towns) and Nampula (10 towns) and build incentives — through performance-based contracts — to enhance the financial and operational sustainability of the services. The project will also finance civil works in piped water supply schemes for 22 rural growth centers, including construction and upgrading of water sources, treatment plants, transmission, distribution, and household connections. Works will also include the construction of solar energy sources for new systems and shifting from diesel generators and grid energy to solar for existing systems, both of which will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficient pumping equipment will be prioritized throughout the project.

“This project will also support job creation,” added Pierre Francois-Xavier Boulenger, Senior Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist and the project’s task team leader. “Small towns and rural growth poles water supply schemes managed by private operators are projected to create 190 new permanent positions, employing at least 65 women. The project will also ensure that one-third of women are represented in district planning and monitoring groups and provide training and business development support grants for 50 female water and sanitation entrepreneurs.”

Aligned with the government’s decentralization framework, the project will provide block grants to elected provincial governments from Nampula and Zambezia to fulfill their leading role and responsibility in planning, implementing and supervising water supply and sanitation infrastructure development in the rural areas. The provincial government will work with selected districts to ensure participatory planning of investments on 500 dispersed water points, including 100 solar powered multiuse systems with facilities for irrigation of small crops and drinking water for livestock. Grants will also be used to improve onsite sanitation facilities at 150 rural schools and at household levels, targeting 20,000 deprived rural families, making use of local service providers. The project has also special provisions to extend the service and improve access to water supply and sanitation between the internal displacement people reallocation centers and hosting communities from Nampula and Zambezia provinces.

This operation complements other ongoing World Bank investments in urban and rural development in northern Mozambique, including the joint efforts of development partners supporting the implementation of the second phase of the government’s National Program for Rural Water and Sanitation (PRONASAR), and the government’s Five-Year Program 2020-2024. This operation is aligned with the World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Mozambique FY17-21, especially its focus on building human capital development, resilience, and recovery from climate and conflict induced fragility.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 74 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has provided $458 billion to 114 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $29 billion over the last three years (FY19-FY21), with about 70% going to Africa. Learn more online: #IDAworks