Although the water target of the Millennium Development Goals was met in 2010, five years ahead of schedule, an estimated 780 million people still use unsafe water sources. Even less encouraging are the statistics relating to sanitation, which show that 2.7 billion people globally lack access to adequate facilities. At current rates, it is anticipated that only by 2026 will 75% of the world use improved sanitation, thereby missing the MDG target by 11 years. Such circumstances are seriously prejudicial to development, as they fuel the spread of waterborne diseases, which place a huge burden on health systems, diminish productivity and prevent children from attending school.
In 2012, OFID provided US$34.9m to help enhance water supply and sanitation services in Africa and the Caribbean, all but a fraction of it in public sector lending and mostly in collaboration with sister institutions BADEA, the Abu Dhabi Fund, the Kuwait Fund and the Saudi Fund.
In Africa, projects in Guinea (US$7m), Lesotho (US$3m) and Tanzania (US$8m) will collectively benefit over 400,000 people by expanding the availability of potable water, while in Cuba, a $16m loan will help upgrade water supply and sanitation systems in the city of Palma Soriano.
Grant financing accounted for $0.9m of commitments to the sector and supported small-scale water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives in Chad, Cameroon and Somalia.