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  • Star Report:  Zambia Compact
  • May 2020

Executive Summary

MCC’s first engagement with Zambia, a landlocked country in south-central Africa, began in 2004 when the Board of Directors selected the country for a threshold program. Throughout that three-year program, the trajectory of the country’s scorecard performance improved, leading the Board to select Zambia as eligible for a compact in 2008. MCC signed a $354.8 million compact with the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GOZ) in 2012.

The Zambian capital of Lusaka experiences seasonal rains that create massive flooding. This phenomenon, combined with a high water table, and poor trash collection and sanitation infrastructure, leads to the spread of water-borne diseases. Many poor residents also lack access to water and sanitation services. Long walks and long lines to fetch water are typical in Lusaka, and time spent to secure clean water represents high opportunity costs.

To address those issues, MCC and the GOZ designed a single sector compact that was MCC’s largest urban water investment. The compact invested in major infrastructure improvements. The compact also invested in institutional strengthening of the Lusaka City Council (LCC), the entity responsible for municipal public health and drainage, and the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC), the entity responsible for the city’s water supply and sanitation services.

The compact’s greatest implementation challenges were related to managing a multitude of infrastructure works in an urban environment with projects spread across the city. Over 5,000 people affected by the projects required resettlement. Other urban challenges, such as underground utility crossings and delayed activities, required heavy investment in redesign of construction and work plans. Additionally, works involving 51 miles of sewer expansion and household connections in one of the poorest townships in the city had to be terminated due to poor contractor performance. Those works will now be completed by the GOZ using its own funding.

The GOZ contributed $50 million of its own resources towards the compact and proved itself to be a strong partner throughout implementation by meeting key conditions required to release compact funds, and passing legislation to support the sustainability of compact benefits. The GOZ has committed to investing $28 million to complete all compact activities that remained unfinished at the conclusion of the compact, in addition to $22 million already provided to address a budget shortfall identified in 2016 related to construction activities. As of February 2020, the GOZ had achieved 96 percent completion of the infrastructure works that remained at the end of the compact. 

The compact entered-into-force on November 15, 2013 and concluded on November 15, 2018. Approximately $332.1 million (93.6 percent) of the compact was disbursed. MCC's support for improvements to Lusaka’s water sector is expected to benefit 1.2 million people over 20 years. In this high-profile single-sector compact, core water network, reservoir, and plant infrastructure were completed. However, to realize the compact’s full benefits, final connections to households and end users still need to occur.

The Zambia Star Report provides a summary of the outputs of the compact program, documents changes in compact activities and the reasons behind them, details information on performance against targets in the monitoring plan, and summarizes the results of independent evaluations that have been completed. It also details relevant partnerships and learning as a result of compact investments. This report will be updated to include data from independent evaluations that are ongoing.

The Infrastructure Activity

The Infrastructure Activity, budgeted at $283.8 million, invested in infrastructure development and rehabilitation of Lusaka’s water supply network, expanded its water-borne sewage network, and improved its storm-water drainage. The compact rehabilitated a water treatment plant along the Kafue River that provides the city with 40 percent of its water resources. Improvement of 47 miles of the city’s bulk water supply pipeline, 10 water distribution centers, key city pump stations, and 150 miles of water pipeline to city residents and businesses have been completed. In addition, 35 rehabilitated or new community water supply pay kiosks for daily fetching of water, newly drilled wells and reservoirs, and 8,637 new water connections are expanding access and consistent water supply to neighborhoods and households.

Sanitation investments included the upgrade and expansion of a key complex of sewage treatment ponds that now serve 156,000 residents, up from an original capacity of only 18,000 residents. In response to construction delays resulting in the replacement of a compact-funded contractor, the GOZ is completing a household sanitation network within the mainly unplanned township of Mtendere and is expanding the community’s household water supply network. As of February 2020, the GOZ had achieved 88 percent completion of the water and sewer network expansion in the Mtendere township, including addressing remedial works by the previous contactor.

The Institutional Strengthening Activity

The compact’s Institutional Strengthening Activity, budgeted at $26.7 million, was designed to strengthen the ability of the municipal government and water utility to provide quality water-related services and maintain the compact’s infrastructure investments. Compact-funded technical assistance in general administration, management of assets, and reduction of the quantity of treated water that is produced but is unpaid for (whether due to leaks, water theft, or billing errors) were key issues at LWSC at the start of the compact. As an outgrowth of the effort to enhance drain maintenance by LCC, the compact drove the development of waste management policy, the eventual passing of the Solid Waste Management and Regulation Law, and the establishment of an autonomous utility to manage collection and disposal of the city’s trash. The activity also assisted both institutions in developing inclusive policies and structures to improve the reach and quality of service delivery to the poor and to increase uptake and maintenance of water and sewer services and infrastructure. This work included information, education, and communications campaigns to help with public outreach activities, and it built in-house capacity at LWSC and LCC to promote behavior change and service uptake.

The Innovation Grant Program

The compact included a $10 million Innovation Grant Program that was designed to support innovative solutions that would improve access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, household water and sanitation financing, and garbage management services for poor Lusaka communities. A total of 14 activities were financed. The resulting innovative activities included the collection of recyclable plastics, locally made feminine hygiene products, a loan program to allow households to connect to the sanitation network, a solar powered water pump, and the crafting of fence posts, tables, chairs, and other items with recycled materials.