, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – The World Bank has approved additional financing for the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project Phase II to contribute to collaborative management of the Lake Victoria Basin.
The additional financing is also meant to improve the environmental management of targeted pollution hotspots and sub-catchments in the Basin.
The additional financing will boost the number of beneficiaries to 450,000, which is a 50 percent increase in the number under the current project.
Kenya and Tanzania each will receive Sh967million in International Development Association (IDA) credits for project activities.
The additional financing will help Kenya, Tanzania and regional project teams to support additional watershed management subprojects, construct or expand community sanitation and sewerage facilities, and strengthen cleaner production programs for industries with facilities in the Basin.
Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest freshwater body and is a shared natural resource, whose water, pollutants and fish stocks freely cross national boundaries of the five countries in the Basin (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda).
The Lake supports the world’s largest freshwater fishery with a total annual landed catch value estimated at around Sh48.3 billion.
“The Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project is generating a wide range of benefits, including enhancing the Basin’s economic growth, reducing poverty in riparian communities, fostering regional cooperation, and protecting the integrity of a delicate Basin ecosystem,” says Colin Bruce the World Bank Regional Integration Director for Africa.
The waters of the Lake and its catchment provide 90 percent of Uganda’s hydropower, most of the hydropower for Rwanda and Burundi, and the water supply to major urban centers including Kampala, Mwanza and Kisumu.
Yet the Lake Victoria Basin has also become a global example of environmental degradation brought on by overfishing, industrial and wastewater pollution and lax management of the natural resources in the Basin.
The board’s approval will extend the project until 2017.