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Sh330M ‘Challenge Fund’ Flows To Small Water Businesses

Two banks to channel funds into enterprises to enhance access to water

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More than 200,000 people across six counties are set to access clean water through a Ksh330 million fund dubbed “Challenge Fund’ through a partnership between Aqua for All and Family Bank and Sidian Bank.

The Challenge Fund adopts a revenue-based loan financing solution that allows small-scale water service providers to repay loans based on the revenue generated from their business. The Fund aims to help 150 small, piped water providers for micro and small water infrastructure investment projects over the next two years.

It will provide small-scale water service providers with critical technical assistance through a tailor-made digital platform, ‘FundMyWater’ and innovative financing towards expanding and improving the quality and reach of water services in Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos, Makueni, Nairobi and Nakuru counties.

“As a bank centred on serving the middle and small-scale sectors of the economy, we are dedicated to help scale up the financial and operational performance of water service providers and financing initiatives focused on delivering improved water supply and sanitation services to low-income homes,” said Family Bank Chief Retail Officer Phyllis Kimani.

Through this fund, Ms Kimani says Family Bank is targeting household and water kiosk service providers, SME customers in solar system installations, smart technologies such as smart metering and even MSMEs in pipes, fittings, pumps and meters,” she added.

A recent study by Aqua for All, revealed that the small-scale water provider market in Kenya presents a viable investment opportunity for domestic lenders to contribute to SDG 6 to universal water access. According to the study, 52.6% of the surveyed small-scale water providers in Nairobi, Nakuru, Makueni, Machakos, Kajiado and Kiambu counties need financing valued at more than Ksh1.4 billion.

Speaking during the launch, the director of Sanitation Management and Head of Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Water, Engineer Kimanthi Kyengo, commended the efforts in helping to fill the financing gap that will help improve water access in Kenya.

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“We have estimated that USD16.4 billion (approximately over Ksh2.3 trillion) will be needed to provide water and sanitation services,” Mr Kyengo said.  “However, at the current programmes we are only able to get Ksh50 billion coming into the water sector. This gives you the finance and service gap that we have but also gives us an opportunity to look into other options, such as the Challenge Fund, that we can be able to utilize.”

The Challenge Fund is open to community water projects with piped water systems, women and youth Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) enterprises with piped water systems and small-scale water providers in Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos, Makueni, Nairobi and Nakuru counties.

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BT Correspondent
BT Correspondenthttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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