BULAWAYO mayor Solomon Mguni has told the African Development Bank (AfDB) that the local authority needs US$1 billion for its water and infrastructure projects.
This comes as the city has been battling serious water challenges with at least 50 people recently reported to have been affected by diarrhoea, which authorities blamed on the dilapidated infrastructure.
“The city in its water and wastewater master plan has presented a need of US$1 billion to rehabilitate its infrastructure and overhaul its operational capacity,” Mguni said on Tuesday.
He said the city was facing a lot of challenges, including sewer bursts and untreated sewer, which was being deposited into water bodies daily.
“Shortage of capital and long term investment opportunities in the urban areas have been a major challenge.
“We are pinning hope on AfDB because they are reliable funders. As you see, they are funding such huge projects in the city that are underway. Once we make known our case and do the proper paperwork then we are confident that they will fund us,” he said.
Mguni said through AfDB funding, the city managed equitable access to municipal water, reduced environmental pollution from sewage and improved utility efficiency.
AfDB executive director representing Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, Judith Kateera said the bank was willing to fund more projects in the city, adding that the financial institution had also received proposals from the Bulawayo Industrial Park.
“The bank is moving forwards supporting more private sector projects and the Bulawayo Industrial Park is one of those that we hope to fund,” she said