VENTURES AFRICA – Djibouti has been granted 2 billion francs ($11 million) by the European Union (EU) to finance projects aimed at improving access to potable water in the East African country.
Six boreholes equipped with solar panels will be dug in six different sites in the country, according to the EU.
An agreement has been signed on the new grant between chief of the EU delegation to Djibouti Joseph Silva and the Minister of Economy and Industrial Finance Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, at an event in the capital.
According to Silva, the project will be driven by the collaboration of the local community.
Djibouti has had to grapple with extended droughts for decades; which had often led to water scarcity for the country in the Horn of Africa. The country’s water crisis is aggravated by rapid demographic growth, climate variability resulting in strong fluctuation of rain patterns and refugee inflow from its South east neighbours, Somalia.
According to a 2013 report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), apart from drought, Djibouti’s challenges also include unemployment, which is estimated as 48 percent and widespread poverty even as it tries to diversify its economy.
The global financial organization stated that only a few of the East African country’s population has benefited little from the recent economic growth (GDP grew by 4.5 percent in 2012 and 5 percent in 2013). IMF noted further that 42 percent of Djibouti’s population lives in extreme poverty.
World Bank records show a strong drop in rainfall in Djibouti from 180 millimeters per year to 150 millimeters per year since 2008, which is expected to drop further to 130 by 2020.
The grant by the European Union is expected to help the country as it seeks to proffer sustainable solution to the problem of water scarcity.