The African Development Bank (AfDB) has given a $29.6 million grant to five Zimbabwean cities for the upgrading of water and sewer systems, Zimbabwe's Herald Online reported on Thursday.

The grant followed in the background of the bank's estimates on the country's requirements to rehabilitate its water and sanitation sector.

At least $450m was required each year for the water sector. Of that amount, $300m was required for rehabilitation of old infrastructure.

The grant was initially meant to alleviate the effects of the 2008 cholera epidemic, but would now be channelled towards the upgrading of water and sewer works in the municipalities.

According to a schedule of the financial support to the five cities $5.9m would go towards capacity building, medium to long term investment plans and project management services.

In its report, Infrastructure and Growth in Zimbabwe, the AfDB noted that Zimbabwe's challenge after the 2008 cholera epidemic was to rebuild the urban and rural water supply and sanitation infrastructure as well to strengthen the local government capacities for service delivery. - Sapa