Austrian builder Strabag has begun work on the third expansion of a water supply network in the Volta region of Ghana, some 160km northeast of the capital, Accra.Â
The project will provide 89,000 more people with access to clean drinking water.Â
Strabag said the contract is worth around €11.5m and is scheduled for completion by July 2022.Â
Like the first two phases, the project is being financed by an Austrian bank and secured by Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB) through a combined export guarantee.
Strabag SE chief executive Thomas Birtel explained: "With so-called soft loans, sustainable projects being carried out by Austrian companies are financed at favourable terms. These are used as ‘door openers’ with the aim of generating follow-up business in the foreseeable future."
The overall programme began in 2012 with a contract value of around €27.5m for the design, delivery and construction of a safe water supply system, including a drinking water treatment plant and a distribution network that will bring water to 170,000 people.Â
In the third phase Strabag will build 23km of water supply lines, a 147km distribution network and 160 community taps.
It will also build four water towers and an underground reservoir with a pumping station powered by a photovoltaic system.
Austrian soft loans aim to boost exports of Austrian industry and help developing countries.
Funding is provided for projects that are not commercially viable but have valuable social effects, such as in healthcare, water, education and disaster control.
Photograph: The underground water reservoir has a pumping station powered by its own photovoltaic system (Strabag)