EBRD and Switzerland finance wastewater improvements in Khujand, northern Tajikistan

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo


EBRD loan and SECO grant will enable municipal water company to improve sewerage network and treatment

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) have joined forces to enable Khujand, the main city of northern Tajikistan, to modernise its sewerage network and to reconstruct an old wastewater treatment plant that had fallen into disuse after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This cooperation follows two previous successful projects by the EBRD and SECO to improve the city’s water supply.
 
Khujand is the capital of the Sugd region in northern Tajikistan, an ancient city that is now home to 165,000 people. It has a growing economy and potential for development in several sectors, including tourism. The city also has a significant need to upgrade its crumbling municipal infrastructure, in particular to improve wastewater management.
 
The EBRD is providing a US$ 3.5 million loan, and SECO is providing a capital grant of US$ 5.35 million, for Khujand Water Company, the water and wastewater utility.
 
Some of the new financing will also be used to upgrade the water supply, providing running water for the first time to about 15,000 people in settlements near Khujand.
 
Richard Jones, EBRD Head of Office in Dushanbe, said: “We are proud to contribute to a better quality of life for people in Khujand and the many other Tajik cities where we invest in clean water and better wastewater management. The planned modernisation programme will significantly reduce pollution and public health hazards.”
 
SECO Country Director Peter Mikula said: “The cooperation between SECO, the EBRD and the city of Khujand dates back to 2004 and our first joint water project in the city. The projects have been highly successful and the project structure has served as a model for water projects elsewhere in the country and the region.”
 
The financing agreements were signed in Dushanbe by the Minister of Finance, Abdusalom K. Kurbonov, the Mayor of Khujand, Rajabboy Ahmadzoda, and the EBRD’s Richard Jones, on the fringes of the government-led investment conference.
 
Since the beginning of its operations in Tajikistan, the EBRD has invested €350 million in the country through more than 80 projects. Many investments – especially those that improve people’s lives directly, such as public utility projects – were made possible by generous donor contributions from EBRD shareholder governments.