EBRD, EU and EIB join forces for water upgrades in the Kyrgyz Republic

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

EBRD, EU and EIB join forces for water upgrades in Kyrgyz cities

US$ 6.7 million financing package for the city of Kyzyl-Kiya

Under its framework to support water and wastewater modernisation in the Kyrgyz Republic the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a loan for a much-needed upgrade in yet another Kyrgyz city, Kyzyl-Kiya.

The investment will be co-financed by the European Union’s Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA) which also has a focus on water and wastewater services and works with the EBRD to address the existing challenges in the sector.

The two institutions are joined by the European Investment Bank (EIB) as a partner, which operates in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Out of the total financing package of US$ 6.7 million (€6 million equivalent), the EBRD will provide a loan of up to US$ 1.7 million (€1.5 million equivalent) to the Kyrgyz Republic for on-lending to the municipality of Kyzyl-Kiya. The EIB will lend US$ 1.13 million (€1 million equivalent), while the European Union’s IFCA will provide a capital grant of nearly US$ 4 million (€3.5 million equivalent).

The EBRD loan agreement was signed today in Bishkek by the EBRD’s Director for Central Asia, Neil McKain; the Minister of Finance, Adylbek Kasymaliev; and the Mayor of Kyzyl-Kiya, Ermekbay Topchubayev.

Kyzyl-Kiya, a city of 45,000 inhabitants, is suffering from water shortages due to an outdated network of pipes with losses of nearly 80 per cent. The funding will allow the city to undertake critical water supply improvements, introduce a modern metering system and upgrade operations and maintenance equipment.

The municipal water company will undergo internal restructuring to strengthen its accounting, environmental and social practices. The investment will prepare the city for future large-scale extension of services, including wastewater services which are currently available to only a third of the population.

The financing will be accompanied by technical cooperation programmes of up to US$ 1.5 million (€1 million), financed by the governments of Austria and the Czech Republic, the EBRD and potentially another international donor.

The EBRD’s Neil McKain said: “The EBRD invests in a wide range of industries and regions, but the modernisation of water and wastewater services in Central Asia has possibly the most immediate positive effect on people’s lives and public health. I am proud that today, together with our partners, we are making another step towards clean, safe water for every family in the Kyrgyz Republic.”

Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic, Ambassador Cesare De Montis, made the following statement:

"The EU is contributing to this project with a €3.5 million capital grant from the EU’s Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA) and I am proud to be able to say that this project is principally financed by the European Union. These investments will be used to improve the quality and reliability of water supply services in the city of Kyzyl-Kiya. The Kyrgyz Republic has received almost €45 million from the IFCA funding, which makes the country the largest beneficiary of the IFCA funding in Central Asia."

Including this project, the EBRD has invested over US$ 27 million (€24.5 million equivalent) into water and wastewater modernisation in 12 cities in the Kyrgyz Republic. In previous projects, the Bank’s lending was also supplemented by grants from the government of Switzerland (SECO) and other international donors.

In total, the EBRD has invested about US$ 710 million (€640 million) in the Kyrgyz Republic.