Germany gave the Burundian government nearly 17 million euros (about US $20 million) on Tuesday to improve water and sanitation in various parts of the country, in what a government official says marks the end of the suspension of German aid.
Germany also plans to reopen its embassy in the capital, Bujumbura, Burundi's minister of finance, Dieudonné Ngowenubusa, said after signing the new cooperation agreement with representatives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German development bank known as KfW.
Germany suspended aid when civil war broke out in Burundi in 1993 and closed its embassy in 1996.
An estimated seven million euros ($8.2 million) of the new aid will go to the public water and electricity company, Regideso, its director, Augustin Baruvura, told IRIN on Wednesday.
Regideso will use the money to improve water supply to urban areas in the eastern provinces of Gitega, Rutana, and Cankuzo, where residents currently go without for three or four days at a time, he said. Baruvura said the shortages were caused by rapid urbanisation, a reduction in rainfall and aging equipment.
Another portion of the funding will go to improving the supply of water in rural areas in the northern provinces of Kirundo and Muyinga.
Some money will also be used to improve sanitation in Bujumbura. Garbage is currently heaped up in many parts of the city as the public company charged with collecting it, known as SETEMU, has suspended activities due to lack of money.
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