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Sun October 20 2019

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Fiji secures funds to protect water supply

14 Nov 17 The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to provide Fiji with US$75m towards a US$405m project that will help protect water infrastructure against extreme weather.

The new long-term loan to support investment by the Water Authority represents the EIB’s largest-ever loan in the Pacific and largest-ever support for water investment in a small island state.

The scheme to strengthen the resilience of water distribution and wastewater treatment is in response to Cyclone Winston - the world’s second strongest storm ever recorded – which hit Fiji in February 2016. More than 275,000 people living around the capital city of Suva will benefit from the new EIB-financed water investment that will both help to improve current service levels and reduce leakages and enable quicker resumption of water supply following cyclones. The scheme includes construction of a new water-treatment plant and upgrading existing wastewater treatment facilities, as well as improving and expanding water networks.

"This welcome financing will be used with funding from the Green Climate Fund, the Asian Development Bank and the Fijian Government,” said Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama. “A great many people in Fiji will benefit from this project, which will cost a total of approximately US$400 million, and I am grateful to the EIB for its support and its foresight. Financing of projects to build resiliency in developing countries is critical, and I sincerely hope that this project can serve as a model for other developing countries that wish to access blended financing on behalf of their own people.”

EIB vice-president Ambroise Fayolle added: “As the bank of the European Union, the European Investment Bank recognises the crucial importance of investing in water and improving access to clean water and sanitation worldwide. Small island states are vulnerable to a changing climate as witnessed by the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston in Fiji last year. We pleased to support transformation water investment on the island of Viti Levu that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Fijians and better protect key services from extreme weather.”

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