The French Development Agency (AFD) recently signed with the Government of Tanzania a series of financing agreements for water and sanitation and energy projects all over the country.
AFD’s country director in Dar es Salaam, Mrs Stephanie Mouen, who talked recently about 2020 being a record year in France and Tanzania’s bilateral co-operation, spoke in an interview on the Agency’s role in the bilateral relations between Tanzania and France.
Excerpts:- QUESTION: Can you shed some light on the recently signed 300 million euros agreements with the Government of Tanzania?
ANSWER: As I stated at the signing ceremony with the Ministry of Finance and Planning on Monday, 2019 was a record year for AFD co-operation with Tanzania, with 170 million euros of projects approved by our Board of Directors, for the development of the country.
However, 2020 is already another record year with 300 million euros of financing signed between our two countries and ready to be implemented. And we expect more signings before the end of the year.
To improve drinking water supply and sanitation in Morogoro Municipality, the Agency will provide 70 million euros (approximately Tsh180 billion) through a concessional loan agreement signed in May. The Morogoro Urban Water and Sanitation Authority aims to give access to quality water to 90 per cent of the population and access to sanitation services to at least 15 per cent by 2025.
We operate with the same philosophy around the urban areas of the Lake Victoria region, where the fast-growing population results in increased demand for water services and sanitation, and growing socio-economics activities threaten the water quality and aquatic life.
That is why we just signed a concessional loan of 30 million euros (Tsh78.5 billion) with the government. This additional financing for the ongoing Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Project that is co-financed by AFD, EIB, the European Union and Tanzanian Government will foster access and extension to water services and improve sanitation in Mwanza as well as provide sanitation facilities in schools and public places in the city.
Additionally, in the Energy sector, we signed two concessional loans to the tune of 200 million euros, aimed at supporting the National Rural Electrification programme and the Tanzania-Zambia Interconnection Project. The latter comes with co-financing from the World Bank and the European Union.
The first project will reinforce access to electricity in the rural areas in 10 regions by connecting almost 100,000 households to the grid. In terms of development, the arrival of electricity in the villages and hamlets is a big step forward!
The other projects will enable the installation of a 400 kV transmission line and substations in order to connect the Southern regions of Tanzania to the grid and to link Southern Africa with Eastern Africa to ensure energy security.
Q: You mentioned co-financing with other donors. Can you explain how AFD positions itself in the donor ecosystem in Tanzania?
A: AFD is the public financial development operator of the French Government. Our headquarters is located in our national capital, Paris. It was established around 80 years ago, in order to fight poverty and promote sustainable development what we view as a shared world.
We are part of the French representation in Tanzania, and in this specific ecosystem, we identify and mobilise funding for development projects, for and with the people. Practically, we offer concessional loans to the Government, as well as tailor-made grants depending on our partner’s needs or characteristics.
The latter are used mainly to finance a necessary study, technical assistance or specific projects. For instance, we provide grants to non-profit actors such as the Aga Khan Health Services, to support development of oncology or infectious diseases services in the country.
Besides enabling concessional funding, we as an agency, share our expertise with Tanzania. For instance, both water and electricity are France’s sectors of excellence.
French stakeholders, both public and private companies, other organisations, and regulators are recognised worldwide for their know-how across the entire water cycle and along the electricity process from production to consumption.
We believe Tanzanians experts can exchange experiences and know-how with their French counterparts. It is also worth mentioning that unlike some other bilateral agencies, AFD’s funding is not tied to French companies. It means that the latter will have to bid alongside Tanzanian or other international firms through a competitive tender process to be selected for the project.
Now, as a bilateral donor, we also try to foster co-financing as much as possible. We believe that solutions to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals must be built jointly. Indeed, development entails collective and inclusive action carried out at the right scale.
That is why we co-finance around half of our projects worldwide with donor-partners. Co-financing helps to multiply the effects, attract other investors, and make the most ambitious projects possible. In Tanzania, we have been participating since 2009 in the multi-donor fund supporting the National Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP) for a total amount of 70 million euros.
We have been funding a project to improve access to drinking water and sanitation in the towns around Lake Victoria for a total amount of 220 million euros, together with the European Investment Bank and the European Union. We have also co-financed projects with multilaterals such as the World Bank and European Union for the electricity interconnection between Tanzania and Zambia.
Other projects are in discussion with the African Development Bank. More recently, AFD, together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, supported an aquaculture programme in Zanzibar to create income-generating ventures for the local people, which appear quite promising.
Q: Can you explain what drives AFD in its engagement in Tanzania?
A: We have been active in Tanzania since the 1990s, but opened an official representation in 2008, and upgraded into an agency in 2018. Our focus is in line with the priorities of Tanzania’s five-year development plan on energy, water & sanitation and transport.
For nearly 12 years, our agency has been directly contributing to achieving the goal of providing for the needs of the people as outlined by the government. Ideally, every home should have access to safe and clean drinking water to keep away water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery that often cause many deaths.
However, this is not always possible due to lack of funds to implement projects to supply treated water to all the people. This is why we are keen to work with the Tanzania Government to make this possible. And there is no better confirmation of this than the total of 760 million euros (Tsh1,900 billion) committed in the last 10 years by our Agency in the country.
We have doubled the amounts of yearly commitments for Tanzania in the last three years and expect to be able to continue to do so for the direct benefit of the Tanzanians. So far, at least 800,000 people have seen improved access to drinking water and some 275,000 gained better sanitation systems.
There is more in the pipeline inspired by the progress made so far, and I hope that 2021, with all the projects we are considering with the government, will be a year of implementation and of diversification of our financing activities towards other important sectors for the country, such as agriculture and environment/biodiversity.