World Bank loans Botswana $145.5 million for emergency water projects

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GABORONE (Reuters) – The World Bank has given Botswana a $145.5 million loan to build water projects after it suffered a severe El Nino-induced drought in the past two years, Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo said on Thursday.

In 2015, overall dam levels in the semi-arid southern African nation fell below 20 percent of their design capacity during the country’s worst drought in more than three decades, and ground water sources dried up or became saline.

In a statement issued on Thursday, a day after the agreement was signed, Matambo said the loan would partly finance the Botswana emergency water security and efficiency project estimated at $160 million.

The remaining $14.5 million will be contributed by Botswana from domestic resources, he said.

In addition to mitigating drought impacts, the project will include waste water treatment and prevent pollution of vital downstream water resources, said Matambo.

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