The African Union Development Agency says the continent needs to invest Sixty-Four (64) Billion United States Dollars towards water and sanitation services on an annual basis if the livelihoods of communities in Africa are to improve.
Speaking when she addressed the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa during the 2022 Stockholm World Water Week, African Union Development Agency Chief Executive Officer, Ms Nardos Bekele-Thomas, stated that of the 64 billion dollars needed for investment, only 10 billion to 19 billion dollars is invested each year, leaving Africa with an investment gap of 45 million to 54 billion dollars annually.
Ms Nardos Bekele-Thomas said there is no conceivable way that Africa can achieve its developmental agenda without a rapid acceleration of investment into the continent’s water and sanitation infrastructure, systems, financing mechanisms, and institutional framework.
“Project preparation, lack of financing, and execution have been identified as key obstacles to advancing the water sector agenda in Africa,” Ms Bekele-Thomas said
She noted that the African Union Development Agency – New Partnership for Africa’s Development established and operating pursuit to the assembly Decision (AUDA-NEPAD) will continue with sustained efforts to mobilize partners, including Direct Financing Institutions, the private sector and others, to support the transformation of the investment outlook for Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa.
Ms Bekele-Thomas added that the transboundary water projects will through the Scorecard report biannually to the Africa Union (AU) Assembly on the progress in tracking, gaps, and bottlenecks in the mobilization of water investments.
Meanwhile, Minister of Water Development and Sanitation Mike Mposha stated that the private sector is key in ensuring the effective implementation of the Zambia Water Investment Programme through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPS) and other innovative financing initiatives using the blended financing approach.
Speaking at the International High-Level panel on water investments session during World Water Week, in Stockholm, Sweden, Mr Mposha said that there is need to recognise partnerships as an opportunity for all African States and stakeholders to gain inspiration on how similar programmes can be formulated and implemented for all African Countries.
The Minister cited that the Zambia Water Investment Programme should not be seen as an undertaking for Zambia only, but rather it should be viewed as the beginning of many similar initiatives at a country level on the African continent.
The Minister has since encouraged other member States from within the African continent to emulate Zambia on the milestone.
Mr Mposha added that sustainable development, and water security entails that governments and stakeholders must ensure access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for all as this is necessary in order to sustain livelihoods, human well-being and socio-economic development.
“This will ensure environmental sustainability, ecosystem preservation and resilience against the negative impacts of climate change and water related hazards such as droughts and floods,” Mr Mposha added
He highlighted that the success factors for attaining national, regional and international water security will depend on how well countries collectively address the enabling
factors such as good governance, transboundary cooperation, peace and political stability, and financing.
“It was clear that the government of the Republic of Zambia would not achieve its aspirations on its own and that it will need to partner with key stakeholders particularly the private sector,” Mr Mposha said
The Water Investments Programme is a Project that is aimed at supporting economic transformation, enhancing resilience through water, while strengthening water and sanitation governance that will ensure that progressive strides are made to enable various communities both in rural and peri-urban areas have access to clean and safe water, improved sanitation levels thus improving the livelihood of the people.