Government officials have hailed the African Union Development Agency’s newly launched AIP-PIDA Water Investment Scorecard as a “game changer” for the mobilization of water and sanitation investments on the continent, during a consultative meeting on 21 April 2022.
Convening ministries of finance, water and sanitation from 18 African countries, the meeting was hosted in partnership with the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa and Africa Coordination (GWPSA-Africa Coordination), the OECD, the Sanitation and Water for All global partnership (SWA), UNICEF, and UNDP.
The Scorecard will help government leaders fill sector funding gaps, make informed policy decisions, improve accountability and – most critically – provide millions of people in Africa with urgently needed water and sanitation services.
“Currently, an estimated 400 million Africans lack access to safe drinking water and about 700 million more lack access to good sanitation,” said His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former President of Tanzania and Chair of GWPSA-Africa Coordination.
Delivery of water and sanitation services in Africa is currently hindered by a $50 billion dollar shortfall each year, according to Dr. Towela Nyirenda-Jere, Head of the Economic Integration Division at AUDA-NEPAD.
“There is no way that we are going to be able to achieve this development agenda without a rapid acceleration of investment into the water and sanitation infrastructure.”
To mobilize this investment, Alex Simalabwi, Executive Secretary of GWPSA-Africa and Director of the AIP Technical Support Unit, told participants that the Scorecard will be presented regularly to African heads of state and government officials. “It will serve as an important guide for appropriate decisions and actions in the water sector.”
Another way to fill this funding gap is through public sector water expenditure, according to Dominick Revell de Waal, Senior Economist at the World Bank Group, who advised an increase from the current annual average of 1.5 per cent of GDP to 4 per cent of GDP. “We should support the increasing calls to invest African capital in African assets,” he said.
Honourable Clemence Chiduwa, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Development commended the Scorecard, saying it will help keep governments accountable, and spark ideas for further collaboration and commitments on water and sanitation across stakeholder groups.
Peter Mahal Dhieu Akat, Director General at Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation added that the Scorecard will help government leaders better juggle competing priorities such as transportation infrastructure and agriculture and understand how investment in water and sanitation can further overall development.
African governments are frequently forced to overspend on mitigating disease burdens that result from lack of access to clean water and sanitation, according to Graham Chingambu, Fund Manager for the SADC Water Fund hosted by the Development Bank of Southern Africa. “The AIP-PIDA Water Investment Scorecard gives African governments a practical way to measure the priority they are giving to the water sector,” he said.
Recognizing how water and sanitation can help solve global crises – including health, climate and the economy – will be a key focus of the Sector Ministers’ Meeting next month, according to Muyatwa Sitali, Head of Country Engagement at SWA. The Scorecard consultative meeting is a key part of the preparatory process for the event, which will gather more than 80 government ministers from water, sanitation, environment, health and the economy to discuss shared problems across sectors.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene must be front and centre to effectively address the triple crises our world faces: climate change, economic slowdown, and the health emergency,” Sitali said. “WASH is an investment; and WASH needs investment.”
The Scorecard will also play a vital role in the work of the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa launched in March at the World Water Forum, which will be key to mobilizing the funds necessary to make water investments.
As a next step in the AIP-PIDA Water Investment Scorecard development process, regional trainings for all AMCOW member states are being organised via the Pan-African Water and Sanitation Sector Monitoring and Reporting System (WASSMO) focal points. The data collection will be launched with the WASSMO focal points in May and with the national coordination platforms
Queries and requests may be directed to the AIP Secretariat, hosted by GWPSA-Africa Coordination, through the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Headline photo credit: Nkululeko Mayiyane via Unsplash