The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank approved, on March 30 in Abidjan, a donation of 1.67 million US dollars (1.2 million Units of Account) for the conduct of a study on the Mkondvo-Ngwavuma Water Resources Development Program (MNWAP) in Eswatini.
Bank support will enable feasibility studies for the Mahamba Gorge and Ethemba dams on the Mkhondvo river to transfer water to the Ngwavuma river as well as for the construction of a dam at Mpakeni on the river Ngwavuma for irrigation of downstream areas.
This financial support will also make it possible to prepare detailed plans and tender documents for the new dams to be built at Mahamba Gorge, Ethemba and Mpakeni as well as for the water supply system in the irrigation areas located downstream. Finally, it will help mobilize resources for the construction of dams and the water supply system through an investor conference.
The increased water resources of the Mkondvo-Ngwavuma rivers will contribute to food security, the fight against poverty and resilience to climate change, by supporting the development of water and irrigation infrastructure in Eswatini.
The Eswatini National Water Management Plan, which dates from 2016, identified possible dam sites, including the Mpakeni dam on the Ngwavuma river and the Mahamba Gorge dam on the Mkhondvo river. The objective is to improve agricultural production and productivity through an increase in the area under irrigation in these river basins. However, since the land bordering the Mkhnodvo river is cramped and unsuitable, the only way to achieve this objective is to transfer water from the Mkhnodvo river to areas downstream of the Ngwavuma river.
The feasibility study is aligned with the Bank’s 2013-2022 Strategy and its five major strategic priorities, the “High 5”, in particular “Feeding Africa” and “Improving the quality of life for Africans”. The project will promote the implementation of these priorities and the achievement of the Bank’s priority agenda for inclusive growth and the transition to green growth. It complies with the Bank’s Country Strategy Document (CSP 2014-2018) and the new CSP under preparation (2019-2023). This defines support for infrastructure development for sustainable and inclusive growth and also takes into account the Bank’s Strategy for the Transformation of Agriculture in Africa (2016–2025).
Finally, the intervention will contribute to the implementation of the Bank’s Gender Strategy, in particular under the pillar relating to the economic empowerment of women .