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July 23, 2024
Projects Water Infrastructure and Development

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has put a $145.8 million water project in Rwanda under close scrutiny due to procurement delays that have hindered its progress.

The Rwanda Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation project, funded with a $122.9 million loan from the AfDB, faces the risk of losing support from the Pan-African lender, which now labels it a “potentially problematic project.”

So far, only 15.5 percent of the loan has been disbursed to the Water and Sanitation Corporation of Rwanda, the project’s implementing agency. The bank’s potential withdrawal could lead to financial difficulties and threaten the project’s success.

“The main challenge under this programme is the long delays in the preparation of feasibility and design studies by the consultants and contract management,” the bank stated in a progress report published on June 17.

The project has been flagged due to slow procurement and low disbursement rates.

According to the report, none of the five key components of the project are complete, with only two years remaining until the loan facility’s deadline, raising concerns about meeting the project goals.

Key issues identified include “slow implementation, especially at the feasibility and design phase,” and “substantial delays in the procurement process, particularly in the preparation and submission of bid evaluation reports.”

The bank urged for the fast-tracking of activities and strict follow-up on agreed actions to ensure timely completion of ongoing studies and works.

Upon completion, the project aims to provide clean water to at least 5.4 million Rwandans, more than doubling the population with access since 2018. However, it has only achieved a 15.8 percent increase, benefiting 451,000 people so far.

Additionally, the project intended to reduce non-revenue water from 35 percent to 25 percent but has instead seen an increase to 42 percent. Progress on the sewerage component is negligible, with no population in Kigali connected to the central sewerage system against a target of 294,480 people, and no benefits from the faecal treatment plant and solid waste landfills, which remain unprocured.

To achieve the desired results on time, the bank recommends that the implementing agency closely monitor the implementation of agreed actions and report quarterly on progress.

The AfDB’s warning comes as it also announced its exit from a $65 million waste power plant project in Nairobi, citing similar procurement delays.

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