KENYA– The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Board of Directors has approved €62.914 million (US$71.5 million) to finance the provision of sustainable wastewater services through the ‘Nairobi Rivers Basin Rehabilitation and Restoration Program: Sewerage Improvement Project Phase II’.

The objective of the project is to improve access, quality, availability and sustainability of wastewater services in Nairobi City to help restore the Nairobi River Basin.

The project, co-financed by the French Development Agency (AFD) with an additional 20 million, targets prioritized sanitation investments in Nairobi City to improve health and living conditions in the national capital.

The bank says that an estimated 500,000 people are expected to benefit from the project through rehabilitation and construction of wastewater treatment facilities at Dandora.

It will also fund the construction of 220km sewer reticulation network including faecal sludge management infrastructure, as well as construction and rehabilitation of 100 toilet facilities in Nairobi’s informal settlements.

The project will also support Athi Water Services Board and Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company to offer improved sanitation services through institutional strengthening.

“Delayed and inadequate investments in wastewater management have resulted in poor wastewater services in Nairobi”, said Wambui Gichuri, Director of Water and Sanitation, noting, this “project will deliver safe, adequate and reliable sanitation services, reducing health risks and economic burdens.”

With total costs estimated at €70.841 million, the project will be financed with the Bank’s €59.407 million loan (83.9%) and €3.507 million loan from the African Development Fund (4.9%) with the Government of Kenya contributing €7.927 million. 

The project, to be implemented in 48 months, will improve access to sanitation services from 48% to 70%.

Nairobi is home to an estimated 4.4 million people, representing about 9% of the country’s total population of 48.5 million. 

Kenya loses an estimated one percent of GDP each year due to poor sanitation, the bank says. 

Urban services have not kept pace with rapid expansion, with the existing sewerage infrastructure serving only 48% of the city.

The environmental degradation and public health impacts due to poor sanitation are leading to high child mortality and morbidity, poor school attendance and performance, especially for girls, and low productivity in Eastern Africa’s most important city, notes AfDB.