Lake Victoria project to cover Rwanda, Burundi

The World Bank supported Lake Victoria Environment Management Programme (LVEMP), launched in the mid-1990s, will now be extended to Burundi and Rwanda.

The World Bank supported Lake Victoria Environment Management Programme (LVEMP), launched in the mid-1990s, will now be extended to Burundi and Rwanda.

Its second phase, initially confined to Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya because they share the vast water body, will now cover the two states which became members of the East African Community in 2007.

Implementation of the LVEMP II started last month after the signing of financial agreements between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya and the World Bank as well as between the Bretton Wo ods institution with the EAC.

Under the World Bank’s Adaptable Programme Lending (APL)), the financing arrangement for the eight-year programme has been split into three parts.

APL1 has received support of the IDA (the development arm of the World Bank) amounting to $90 million for the initial four years. This will only involve Tanzania ($ 32.5 million), Uganda ($27.5 million) and Kenya ($30 million).

The component would also be financed by the Global Environment Facility- GEF ($ 7 million), Swedish International Development Agency -Sida ($10 million) and borrowers (about $7.8 million equivalent in local currencies).

EAC sources say the GEF and Sida support would mainly finance activities at the regional level where the project would fall under the supervision of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), an institution under the EAC.

APL 2, with grant support of $30 million, will bring Burundi and Rwanda into the programme. Its preparations are expected to be finalised by December 31, this year.

Although they do not share the lake, the two countries are within the broader Lake Victoria Basin.

Other major projects being implemented around the lake in collaboration with LVBC are EAC/AMREF Lake Victoria HIV/Aids Partnership Programme (EALP) and the Mt Elgon Regional Ecosystem Conservation Programme (MERECP).

Yet another is the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Project supported by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat). It covers 15 urban centres around the lake, three from each partner state.

According to an EAC report, the project consultants, Mr Mott MacDonald of UK, have prepared draft investment plans for the 15 towns. Discussions were underway with various development partners to fund the investments, it said.

“The African Development Bank (AfDB) has indicated an availability of $565 million (Sh748.6 billion) for the purpose,” said the report. It will be presented to the EAC Council of Ministers one of its policy organs - meeting in Arusha.

The AfDB has also provided $495,000 for a detailed pre-investment analysis/study of the Maritime Communications for Safety on Lake Victoria. This is a project whose implementation would be based on public/private partnership.

Last September the US Government granted $3 million to the EAC to support the management and conservation of the Mara river basin as a trans-boundary resource.

The project covers the famous Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.

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