Institutional Reforms Expand Water Access in Cabo Verde
Cabo Verde, an extremely water-scarce country, faces a number of challenges in the water and sanitation sector. In 2012, the Government of Cabo Verde signed its second compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), with $41 million dedicated to the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Project. The WASH Project was designed to establish a financially sound, transparent, and accountable institutional basis for the delivery of water and sanitation services to Cabo Verdean households and businesses. The WASH Project, which finished in late 2017, transformed the water and sanitation sector by reforming national policy and utility regulators, establishing an independent utility operating on a commercial basis, and improving the quality and reach of water and sanitation infrastructure on several islands.
Although post-compact evaluations continue, early data indicate promising results. The average hours per day that water service is available more than doubled in areas where MCC worked, from six hours to 14.6 hours per day. In addition, average water consumption nearly doubled, from 20 liters per person per day to 35 liters per person per day, demonstrating that water service is improving and households are utilizing it.
Building on the success of the WASH Project, the Government of Cabo Verde developed the country's first Water and Sanitation Fund (FASA) with MCC support. FASA provides funding for water and sanitation utilities to improve or expand their infrastructure. Together with MCC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided technical assistance to the initiative—the latter leveraging its expertise in managing the U.S. State Water Revolving Funds. FASA-funded projects will be competitively selected based on the quality of the proposals and on the water utilities’ efforts toward better management. FASA has caught the attention of Luxembourg’s development agency, which has now invested 4 million Euros in seed capital.