The board of Beijing-headquartered Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) has approved a $400-million loan for a water sanitation project in Andhra Pradesh, taking the overall exposure of the bank to India to $2 billion spread over nine projects. India is the second largest shareholder of the bank after China.

The new project is expected to have a positive impact on women and girls in affected communities, the bank said in a statement.

Extending piped water

Hauling water from communal taps is mainly carried out by women and girls and requires a significant amount of time that could otherwise be spent on more productive activities, such as education, it added.

The project will also reduce health risks and health expenditures for women in Andhra Pradesh.

“Extending piped water supply is a major development priority of the Government of India,” said AIIB Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer DJ Pandian.

“We are supplementing the ongoing and proposed programmes locally in Andhra Pradesh and are directly contributing to India’s achievements under Sustainable Development Goal 6 to ensure access to water and sanitation for all.”

“This project will increase access to safe drinking water and support the Government of Andhra Pradesh in addressing water supply and sanitation,” said AIIB Director-General of Investment Operations Supee Teravaninthorn.

High demand

He added that the project will also strengthen AIIB’s capacity to finance other broadbased water supply projects, which are in high demand in other States.

This is the third project in AP to be financed by AIIB. Earlier this year, the bank extended $455 million loan for Andhra Pradesh rural roads development project.

In 2017, it sanctioned a loan of $160 million for power transmission projects in the State.