On January 22, 2017 the Mail on Sunday published an inaccurate, misleading and defamatory article on the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF).
CRIDF is an award-winning, target-exceeding technical assistance programme - implemented by a consortium of organisations including Adam Smith International - that is improving water security for over 10 million drought-affected people in the southern African region.
This statement sets out the accurate information on this project, which was also provided to the Mail on Sunday prior to publication.
1. CRIDF is not “a pump project” to install wells, water pumps and irrigation, it is a technical assistance project focussed on providing technical expertise for infrastructure project preparation, which is why the majority of funds are used to provide expert engineers and economists. It should be noted that 74% of the specialists employed on CRIDF are from southern Africa.
2. It is wholly inaccurate to compare the cost of expertise provided with that of infrastructure construction, as building infrastructure is only one component of the project.
3. CRIDF ’s role in developing projects that will be implemented by others is its critical one. CRIDF has already mobilised £126 million of external financing, almost three times the project target. £5 for every £1 spent by DFID has been leveraged, demonstrating excellent value for money. The Tanzanian Kikonge dam project is a good example. After putting forward the concept and raising funds for a full feasibility study, CRIDF is now mobilising £605m for the construction of the dam and an associated CRIDF designed irrigation scheme for 4000ha of farm land. Tanzanian electricity capacity will be expanded by 25%.
4. CRIDF will meet and exceed its targets. The full targets for the programme will only be achieved towards its end, as infrastructure takes time to build. Funds are spent to prepare projects (project scoping, outline design, environmental permitting, social impact assessment, climate risk assessment, detailed design, procurement and supervision of construction), but the target numbers are only accrued when the project is completed. This is particularly apparent with a large project like Makonde water supply which once completed (March 2017) will benefit approximately 630,000 people.
5. The average cost of workshops across the project over a period of three years is £28 per participant. The £217 per workshop participant figure quoted in the Mail on Sunday refers to one workshop held in a very remote area in northern Namibia. The cost includes flights for specialist engineers and accommodation. It is critical that communities are involved in their own development, and it was more cost effective for international experts to travel to the remote location, than for community representatives to travel to the capital. As a result of this workshop CRIDF is now constructing seven community water schemes and it has led to the development of a £74.8 million programme to expand water resources across five countries, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Angola.
6. The article claims that “a scheme to help three Zimbabwean villages grow beans and cabbages cost more than £10,000 per household.” This refers to a preparatory project which is already benefiting 40,000 people and will benefit 1.5 million when the full £72.5m programme is in place.
CRIDF is successfully reducing water insecurity in the Southern African region on a large scale. The facts are:
• Through projects it has itself implemented CRIDF has already provided water security, food security and reduced flood risk to over 1 million people, extending to 1.8 million in the longer term.
• Through other projects in which CRIDF has played a leading role in developing, at least a further 8.2 million people will benefit from improved water security and reduced flood risk.
• Total beneficiaries from CRIDF will exceed 10 million, more than twice the project target.
• CRIDF has facilitated seven international agreements and four transboundary strategies and plans, which ensure the peaceful development of transboundary water resources.