, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 8 – Kenya has received a Sh3.5 billion grant from the Italian government for the upgrading of water supply and sanitation systems in the country.
The money will primarily go into the extension of aqueducts fed by the Kirandich and Kiambere dams (which were partly financed by the Italian government).
The initiative is expected to benefit approximately 150,000 people who will be able to take advantage of the new water supply system in line with quality standards for the water sector by relevant national policies.
Speaking during the signing of the loan agreement, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said the funding would go a long way in improving access to basic social amenities for Kenyans especially in semi arid areas.
"This will help many poor Kenyans to have access to clean and safe water in program areas and indeed I look forward to extending the program to reach many more Kenyans," Mr Kenyatta said.
The grant will also go towards the construction of sewer systems in Karbarnet and Mwingi districts.
Italian Ambassador to Kenya Pieranderea Magistrati said the initiative would complete the national programs of water development in the two-targeted areas, significantly contributing to their economical development.
Amb Magistrati envisions the new aqueducts opening up opportunities for improved irrigation activities, contributing positively to the country\’s efforts of shifting form rain based agriculture.
Through the Italian Co-operation, the Italian government is also looking at projects in Nyanza and Turkana areas, which the ambassador described as \’poor areas\’.
Since the early 90\’s Italy has financed 60 projects worth 37 million euros in priority areas such as health, water resources and urban development.