World Bank rejects Lilongwe-Salima drinking water project in Malawi

World Bank rejects Lilongwe-Salima drinking water project in Malawi

The World Bank has rejected the Lilongwe-Salima drinking water project in Malawi, expressing concern about the feasibility and relevance of the project.

The World Bank, was to provide part of the funding needed to implement the project. According to Hugh Riddell, the Bank’s director for Eastern and Southern Africa, the project has been presented to the bank since April 2017. It was then discussed at the financial institution’s annual meeting the same year.

“A follow-up letter was sent by the World Bank on November 7th, 2017, sharing our concerns about the feasibility of the project. The Bank team remains available to support further technical studies, through our global pool of experts, if there are updates on project details,” said Hugh Riddell, in a letter to Chauncy Simwaka, Malawi’s Treasury Secretary.

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Hard blow for the Khato Civils Company

In the same correspondence, Hugh Riddell refers to the Diamphwe Dam, the construction of which will provide drinking water and irrigation in the central region where the capital Lilongwe is located. The World Bank finds it incongruous to invest in the construction of this multi-purpose dam and the implementation of the Lilongwe-Salima drinking water project which will have its source in Lake Malawi.

The World Bank believes that the simultaneous implementation of the two projects could result in excess water and an additional burden on the local utility Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) and the Malawi treasury. They are however still in favour of the project and is requesting the country’s government to settle for a project to supply the capital Lilongwe and the surrounding localities

The refusal of the project’s funding is a hard blow for the Khato Civils Company, which had already revised its budget downwards. The South African company was forced to revise its budget downwards, from US $400m to US $298m.

READ: Khato revises Lilongwe-Salima Water Project cost