WASHINGTON, DC, May 18, 2010 -- The World Bank Group Board of Directors approved today a US$40 million loan for Panama in support of the Metro Water and Sanitation Improvement Project. The project will increase the quality, coverage and efficiency of the water supply and sanitation services in the lower-income neighborhoods of the Panama metropolitan region.
The Project will expand coverage of water supply for 100,000 people and sanitation services for 60,000; increase efficiency and support the National Water and Sewer Agency (IDAAN, in Spanish) in its modernization in selected areas of the Panama metropolitan region. The Project will target the areas east of the Panama Canal (including the city of Colón).
"Access to drinking water and proper sewage systems is crucial to sustain Panama's continued growth and development, and the Panama Metro Water and Sanitation Improvement Project is an important contributor to the country's Development Plan water strategy. It involves crucial investments in water quality and quantity, but most importantly it seeks to boost the efficiency of the State's water supply and sanitation sector," said Laura Frigenti World Bank Country Director for Central America.
This approach will:
• Increase the coverage of reliable water supply and sanitation services, in selected areas of the Panama metropolitan region where living standards are lower and where the water supply and sanitation services are of an inferior quality compared to the rest of Panama City.
• Finance network extension and rehabilitation activities, initially focusing on the neighborhoods of Alcalde Diaz and Chilibre and parts of the district of San Miguelito in the Panama metropolitan region, where service is currently limited for a significant part of the residents and sewer connection rates are lower than in other parts of the region.
• Revisit IDAAN's approach to work in lower-income settlements utilizing regional good practices and a strong social outreach program that will be developed to ensure that new users actually connect to the networks being built.
• Improve IDAAN's efficiency and quality of water supply and sanitation services in the city of Colón by expanding its coverage, reducing leaks and installing meters as well as business improvement measures. In Colón, the project will benefit from recent major infrastructure investments undertaken by the Government in water and sewer networks in the city.
• Support IDAAN in developing a Management Information System covering all business units and processes as well as capacity building activities, and another encompassing project management and monitoring activities.
"This project will strongly contribute to IDAAN's focus of achieving efficient, transparent results while ensuring effective public expenditure and accountability, and improve the overall provision of water supply and sanitation services. It will support the Government's vision of turning IDAAN into a modern, sustainable utility with efficient and reliable services for the urban population, particularly in lower-income areas." said David Michaud and Lilian Pena Pereira Project Managers for the World Bank.
This is a five-year US$40 million IBRD Specific Investment Loan (SIL), which combines investments and technical assistance financing. The loan has a 20 year maturity that includes a five year grace period. The Government of Panama, through IDAAN's budget, will contribute US$15 million in counterpart funds.
To learn more about this project please visit: http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?pagePK=64283627&piPK=73230&theSitePK=343561&menuPK=343595&Projectid=P119694
For more information about the World Bank's work in Panama, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/pa