The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting an upgrade of the water supply network in Visoko, a municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will raise potable water quality to European standards and connect a third of the population to water network, providing 11,500 people with potable running water for the first time.
The loan agreement was signed on August 31 in Sarajevo by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti and the Minister of Finance and Treasury of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vjekoslav Bevanda. The loan support agreement was signed by the Mayor of Visoko, Amra Babic, according to EBRD.
The €4.5 million sovereign loan for the benefit of Visoko’s municipal water company will enable the municipality to significantly reduce water losses. Thanks to technical cooperation funded by grants from Germany and the EBRD the municipal water company, which is currently loss-making, will be restructured, strengthened, and made commercially sustainable.
Signing the loan agreement, the EBRD President said: “Today’s signing, which will bring drinkable running water to thousands of people, is an important part of our work in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We expect to see a record level of EBRD investment here in 2016. Including this and other water projects which directly benefit people’s lives, we hope to provide up to €200 million this year, supporting crucial projects in infrastructure, the financial sector and SMEs, including women in business.”
Minister Bevanda added: “I am delighted to sign this loan agreement today and to welcome EBRD’s President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This EBRD funding is a welcome investment in the infrastructure in the municipality of Visoko, and is further evidence of effective cooperation between the EBRD and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
The Mayor of Visoko, Amra Babic, added: ‘This project, which has been badly needed for years, will make a real difference to people’s lives. We have been trying for many years to realise this project to expand our water supply network and to improve the quality of water supplies up to EU standards. The EBRD is supporting us not only by financing this investment but also in providing help to restructure the municipal water company and make it financially sustainable.”
Since the beginning of its operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EBRD has invested more than €1.9 billion in over 133 projects in the country. Reducing water losses in the Visoko municipality is part of addressing a global resource efficiency challenge.
The EBRD’s strategic priorities for the period 2016-18 for its countries of operations are re-energising growth, strengthening regional integration and addressing global challenges.