Nairobi, Kenya, December 18, 2012—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today announced support from the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation to catalyze the market for improved sanitation
and accelerate access to more affordable sanitation solutions for low-income
households in East Africa.
The Selling Sanitation initiative, a joint
project of IFC and the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, will support
regional manufacturing firms to deliver low-cost sanitation products to
consumer markets, with a pilot program in Kenya.
This initiative will lower market barriers,
attract private investment and spur innovation by helping firms better
understand consumer needs at the base of the pyramid. It will provide support
to manufacturing firms to design new products, strengthen rural distribution
mechanisms, and actively promote sanitation to consumers currently without
access. The initiative will work closely with regional government counterparts,
including the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, to create
the right enabling conditions for the sanitation market.
“There is an urgent need to improve sanitation
in Africa to reduce deaths and illnesses associated with poor hygiene.
This partnership builds on the opportunity to mobilize private investment
for better sanitation services,” said Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern
and Southern Africa. “IFC's new partnership with the Bill and & Melinda
Gates Foundation will help further IFC’s strategy of transforming key
markets and increasing access to basic infrastructure.”
Approximately 28 million Kenyans, over two-thirds
of the population, lack access to improved sanitation. Nearly 20,000 Kenyans,
including more than 17,000 children under the age of five, die every year
from diarrheal diseases directly attributed to poor water, sanitation and
hygiene. Many Kenyan households use poor quality, but costly latrines with
low hygienic standards. Few affordable product and service options exist
for low-income households looking to upgrade or build new sanitation facilities.
This initiative is part of IFC’s Sanitation
and Safe Water for All program, which has recently published a step-by-step
guide for entrepreneurs on how to develop a water treatment and vending
business in Kenya. The program builds on the experience from Lighting Africa,
a joint IFC and World Bank program, which has so far provided safe, affordable
and modern off-grid lighting to more than four million people in Sub-Saharan
Africa. This initiative also leverages the extensive sanitation expertise
of the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is
the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private
sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing
investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and
providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our
investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging
the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle
the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information,
About the World Bank Water and Sanitation
The Water and Sanitation Program is a multi-donor
partnership created in 1978 and administered by the World Bank to support
poor people in obtaining affordable, safe, and sustainable access to water
and sanitation services. WSP provides technical assistance, facilitates
knowledge exchange, and promotes
evidence-based advancements in sector dialogue.
WSP has offices in 25 countries across Africa, East Asia and the Pacific,
Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, and in Washington, DC. WSP’s
donors include Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands,
Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and the World
Bank. For more information, please visit www.wsp.org.