EBRD, SECO modernize wastewater treatment plant in Tajikistan

By Aynur Jafarova

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) have joined forces to enable Tajikistan's Khujand city to modernize its sewerage network and to reconstruct an old wastewater treatment plant that had fallen into disuse after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This cooperation follows two previous successful projects by the EBRD and SECO to improve the city's water supply, the bank said on October 16.

The EBRD is providing a $3.5 million loan, and SECO is providing a capital grant of $5.35 million, for Khujand Water Company, the water and wastewater utility.

The relevant agreements were signed in Dushanbe by Tajik Finance Minister Abdusalom Kurbonov, Mayor of Khujand Rajabboy Ahmadzoda and EBRD Head of Office in Dushanbe Richard Jones on the fringes of the government-led investment conference.

Some of the new financing will also be used to upgrade the water supply, providing running water for the first time to about 15,000 people in settlements near Khujand.

"We are proud to contribute to a better quality of life for people in Khujand and the many other Tajik cities where we invest in clean water and better wastewater management. The planned modernization program will significantly reduce pollution and public health hazards," Jones said.

SECO Country Director Peter Mikula said the cooperation between SECO, the EBRD and the city of Khujand dates back to 2004.

"The projects have been highly successful and the project structure has served as a model for water projects elsewhere in the country and the region," Mikula added.

Since the beginning of its operations in Tajikistan, the EBRD has invested €350 million in the country through more than 80 projects. Many investments - especially those that improve people's lives directly, such as public utility projects - were made possible by generous donor contributions from EBRD shareholder governments.