The Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) in partnership with Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited, has disbursed a total of €4.5 million as loans to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the Water and Sanitation (WASH) sector.
The goal is to aid the effective implementation of the 'Catalyzing WASH from Possible to Profitable (P2P) Project'.
The P2P Project, spanning five-years-2015-2020, is being supported by the Kingdom of Netherlands, in the form of providing financial and technical assistance to SMEs to increase infrastructure and improve access to WASH services, especially in deprived communities.
Ms. Agatha Quayson, the Project Manager, told a stakeholder meeting in Kumasi that, this was made possible following the training of officials from about 30 financial institutions in WASH financing and 153 SMEs on how to become bankable.
She said since its inception about 20,885 hand-washing infrastructures and services have been made available to schools and public places while over 33,000 solid waste facilities had been installed in communities.
Additionally, more than 13,000 liquid waste facilities have been provided together with the implementation of 32,000 water projects, across the country.
Ms Quayson, however, said out of the 1,200 household hygiene facilities targeted for the project period, only 583 households have so far been covered, due to financial reforms and clean up.
She encouraged the people to be self-sustained and work towards having their own toilet facilities as the nation strives to achieve the 'one house, one toilet agenda'.
Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, in a speech read on her behalf, said it was an undisputed fact that WASH was the key to the socio-economic development of Ghana.
She said it was in that regard that the government and for that matter, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, would partner with relevant stakeholders to ensure that safe and reliable WASH services were accessible to all Ghanaians.
Mrs Dapaah said this had been aligned to the new thinking required to achieve goals 6.1 and 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).
She lauded the idea by some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to support the government to find financial solutions to address gaps in the sector, adding that, the support from Fidelity Bank had shown that WASH was an area with investible financing products.
"I am glad that the Bank saw it as a business opportunity and not as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) intervention, she stated."
Mr Anjo van Toorn, the Country Director, SNV, pledged the continued support of the organization to offer technical assistance to SMEs on how to acquire flexible loans to provide sanitation services to households and strengthen the WASH sector.
Mr Julian Opuni, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited, said the partnership had been profitable and a useful learning curve, adding that it had also helped to penetrate the WASH value chain for a better understanding of the process.