Government of Ethiopia and World Bank Collaborate to Accelerate WASH Agenda

Nov. 15, 2023

ADDIS ABABA, 15 November 2023 - The Ministry of Finance of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), in collaboration with the World Bank, held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern and Southern Africa WASH Leadership Summit to discuss strategies to accelerate Ethiopia's Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) agenda.

Led by Victoria Kwakwa, Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa at the World Bank, and H.E Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance, FDRE, the discussions provided an opportunity for both sides to review the progress of activities in their existing water portfolio and explore additional areas for collaboration. The goal was to translate the ideas discussed during the WASH Leadership Summit into concrete actions for Ethiopia.

While Ethiopia has made significant progress in storing and managing ground and surface water resources, as well as in providing WASH services nationwide, there are still millions of Ethiopians who lack access to these vital services. This lack of access hinders poverty reduction efforts. Additionally, the financial needs to meet the growing demand for basic water supply and sanitation are increasing, while domestic funding remains constrained. The inadequate funding is further compounded by inefficiencies in existing investments, including operational inefficiencies such as water leakages and the failure of new water points in rural areas. These inefficiencies deplete the already scarce public resources.

To address these challenges, both sides committed to working together to ensure universal access to services. Specifically, the parties agreed to collaborate in order to accelerate project implementation and maximize impact, particularly in existing World Bank-supported projects that enhance WASH service access, build resilience to climate shocks and sustainability of WASH systems. These projects, focused on improving the management of water resources, groundwater, and floods, play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities across Ethiopia, particularly those affected by drought and floods.

The parties also agreed on the importance of institutional reforms, and innovation as critical elements in attracting more funding, particularly from the private sector and development partners, to broaden the pool of resources for WASH and increase its impact.

Finally, an agreement was reached to hold an Ethiopia-specific WASH conference. The conference aims to advance the dialogue and develop a concrete plan to translate the discussions on sustainable financing, private sector engagement, enhancing the regulatory framework, and ensuring universal access to WASH.