A six-million euro fund aimed at providing increased access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and households across the country to address water, sanitation and hygiene problems, has been launched in Accra.
The revolving fund, initiated by Netherlands Development Agency (SNV) in collaboration with Fidelity Bank as the fund manager, is one of the largest financial facilities developed towards the management of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues.
Dubbed, “Catalysing WASH from Possible to Profitable (P2P),” the project is to help households and SMEs to address the financial gap in the development and provision of water and sanitation facilities.
Among other things, loans would be disbursed to over 3,000 households and MSMEs over a five-year period. In addition, over 500 MSMEs in the WASH sector would benefit from pre and post loan business support to facilitate loan acquisition and repayment.
The fund, which was launched under them theme, “ P2P: creating access to finance and technical assistance,” is expected to serve as a model for a finance and private sector driven approach to water and sanitation financing in Ghana.
Launching the project, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister, lauded the objective of the fund, and expressed optimism that it would stimulate high private sector participation in the water and sanitation sector.
He also commended the Netherlands Embassy in Accra for the keen interest and support it continued to offer under the Ghana-Netherlands WASH programme towards the effective management of waste in the country, and assured the project managers of government’s assistance to ensure the success of the fund.
Hans Docter, Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, in his remarks described the sanitation situation in the country as a crisis, which needed urgent action to overcome.
Although he acknowledged government’s effort in addressing the poor waste management situation, he said not much has been achieved, adding that there was a need to tackle it holistically with proper investment.
He was worried that not much was being done to profit from waste in the country, coupled with the poor waste disposal methods.
“The mentality has to change, and the private sector also needs to play its role in providing the relevant products,” he said.
Edward Effah, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, indicated that the development of the fund was informed by the need to overcome the inability of MSMEs to access loans mostly from traditional sources that hinders their ability to sustain investments and services in the water and sanitation sector.
He said the facility would allow the enterprises to gain access to credit, and also allow households or groups of households to secure the necessary funding to build water and sanitation facilities such as latrines, toilets, water connection and treatment systems.
He assured the bank’s commitment towards the successful implementation of the project, adding that the bank considered its involvement in the project as part of contribution for national development.