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, visit www.ifc.org and www.ifc.org/ssawa.
About the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program
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.