WB approves 466bn/- to curb flooding in Dar

OVER 300,000 people including many low-income communities residing along the Msimbazi Valley will soon be relieved from flood exposure.

They will be exposed to better access to infrastructure and services, thanks to a 200 million US dollars (equivalent to over 466bn/-) financing approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors recently.

The financing by the International Development Association (IDA) is also expected to help transform a flood prone area in the centre of the city into a vibrant green space and commercial and residential area that will benefit all residents of Dar es Salaam.

Alongside the 200 million US dollars, the project will be co-financed through a 30 million US dollars (about 70bn/-) credit from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and a €30 million (about 69.4bn/-) grant from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A statement released by the World Bank on Tuesday disclosed that the new project development objective aims to strengthen flood resilience and integrated urban development in the economically important and flood prone area of the Msimbazi River basin.

Among components to be featured in the project include the Msimbazi river basin development infrastructure, preventative resettlement and strengthening institutions for resilient urban development, project management and contingent emergency response.

According to the Acting World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Ms Preeti Arora, harnessing urbanisation to promote economic growth and job creation is a priority in the World Bank Country Partnership Framework for Tanzania.

“Despite its critical role as an engine of growth for the nation, Dar es Salaam’s business environment is negatively impacted by the unplanned nature of its growth, limited urban services, and the vulnerability of settlements and critical infrastructure to climate-related hazards. This new support will help transform the city into a more efficient metropolitan area,” said Ms Arora.

World Bank Senior Urban Specialist, MR John Morton, was of the view that given Dar es Salaam’s flat topography and limited drainage network, nearly every rainy season brings flooding and the area near the lower Msimbazi River is most affected.

“The situation has become increasingly severe over the past decade due to rapid and unplanned growth, which has led to higher flood intensity and more people moving to flood prone areas.

“The project is designed to be resilient to this rapid urbanisation and anticipated impacts of climate change through a flood prevention approach that reduces the impacts on mobility, property, health, livelihoods, and economic development,” he noted.

The project also builds on the World Bank’s nearly two decades of engagement in urban development in Dar es Salaam, including the Dar es Salaam Metropolitan Development Project (DMDP), which will close in December 2022.

On his part, World Bank Senior Transport Specialist, Mr Allen Natai, maintained that public spaces and green areas are scarce with only two per cent of Dar es Salaam classified as public green space and as little as 0.1 per cent classified as park.

“While much of the project area in the lower Msimbazi valley is open space, the quality of the green space, wetland, forests, and riverbanks has been degraded due to urban pressure, deforestation, and waste dumping. Through the project, the people of Dar es Salaam will also benefit from the city’s first major urban park, said Mr Natai.

Recently, Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA) Chief Executive Officer, Eng Victor Seif, told reporters that a financing agreement between the government and the WB was signed on Friday last week and the project is expected to be effective from December 31st, this year.

Feasibility studies and architectural designs for the down and up-stream infrastructure of the Jangwani Bridge as well as preparations of the key documents on the environment have been completed, he said.

He said the project is at early stages but promised that construction is set to start before the end of 2022/23 financial year.

“Procedures to get contractors for the project will start next month and the construction works are expected to start within the 2022/23 financial year,” said Eng Seif.

He said since the loan lifespan is six years, he was optimistic that the construction will be completed within the loan time frame.

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