His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete and GWP Partners- AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB, AMCOW, European Commission, SWA, and UfM explore ways to improve water security investments in post Covid-19 recovery

by | Nov 9, 2020 | News

The Global Water Partnership Africa and Mediterranean session of the GWP 2020 Network Meeting was held under the theme Bringing the change and brought together more than 150 GWP Partners from Central, East, West, and Southern Africa as well as the Mediterranean to discuss how to transform and improve the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation for a prosperous, peaceful, and equitable society. 

GWPSA-ACU Chair His Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete calls for investment in water infrastructure

GWP Southern Africa and Africa Coordination Unit Board Chair, His Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, who was the fourth President of the Republic of Tanzania, opened the meeting with a keynote address. He noted that there is a huge gap between the investments required to achieve water security and the actual investments available.

“By 2030, Africa’s population is expected to reach 1.6 billion. This will lead to a tenfold increase in water for social-economic needs. The Africa Water Facility at the African Development Bank projects that $64 billion per year is required annually to meet the 2025 Africa Water Vision, while the actual investment is between $10 and $19 billion per year, leaving a big water investment gap,’” said His Excellency President Jakaya Kikwete.

He added that the Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) is directly responding to the obstacles to water investments in Africa. The AIP will intervene through catalysing commitment and leadership for coordinated climate-resilient Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), water investments toward inclusive growth, jobs and industrialization, mobilising partnerships, and implementing gender-transformative investments in water climate development, and accelerating project preparation, finance, and the implementation of regional and transboundary water investments.

Collaboration and coordination key for transboundary water projects 

Ms. Towela Nyirenda-Jere, Head of Regional Integration at the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), stressed the importance of collaboration and coordination, in order to maintain sustained engagement with the stakeholders critical for the implementation of transboundary water projects. She added that project preparation is essential to attracting investments, and the partnership needs to find ways and means to finance early stage project preparation, which will improve the investment outlook for transboundary water projects.

“We need to package and present the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Water Projects to focus on their investment opportunities and job creation potential,” said Ms. Nyirenda-Jere.

AMCOW commits to AIP implementation

Dr. Paul Orengoh, Director of Programs at the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) said that the AIP would contribute towards the implementation of key high level political commitments on Water in the continent, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic further increases the need for urgent investments in the water and sanitation sectors.

Dr. Orengoh said that AMCOW commits to accelerate the implementation of the AIP, to undertake an assessment on the impact of COVID-19 on Africa’s water sector, and to collaborate with partners for urgent responses to COVID-19 in two phases 1) response to the current pandemic, and 2) build preparedness, resilience, and mitigation to public health emergencies.

Reframing adaptation as good news

Dr. Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank said more climate funding needed to be directed towards adaptation, as opposed to mitigation against climate risks. “We need to invest in adaptation and resilience building, as these investments can easily generate returns of up to ten times,” said Dr. Nyong. He added that the communication of positive stories around the potential returns of adaptation investments had the potential to redirect the narrative around climate change and mobilise further investments.

Mobilising finance ministers for investment in water and sanitation

Ms. Nompumelelo Ntshalintshali, Regional Coordinator for Africa at Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) said that the 2020 Finance Ministers Meetings, convened in collaboration with UNICEF and the World Bank to increase financing in the water and sanitation sectors, would be held virtually, which would allow SWA to focus more at a regional level on mobilising investments. The main goal of this years’ meeting is to develop and strengthen partnerships with ministers for smart investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Union for the Mediterranean focuses on water and climate resilience

Mr. Almotaz Abadi, Managing Director at the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), said that water security had always been at the centre of the Union for the Mediterranean. “Identifying opportunities for coordinated financing of water and climate resilience remains a key priority for the 42 member states of the Union for the Mediterranean,” said Mr. Abadi.

He added that the Union for the Mediterranean was focusing on identifying sustainable projects that could be replicated in different regions and which would encourage cooperation through a coordinated approach to sustainable development.

Africa and water important for European Green Deal 

Mr. Andrew Murphy, Senior Advisor to the Director General of Environment at the European Commission said that the EU recognises international engagement as a key approach. He added that the European Green Deal is a growth strategy that will frame development programmes over the next few years and confirms the European Commission’s commitment to water security. African climate projects are part of the focus of the European Green Deal.

GWP Interim Executive Secretary Mr. Peter Repinski commended the support of GWP partners in achieving its vision. “Partners like you are central to GWP’s vision and mission”, he said.” “It is only with this large, diverse, multi-stakeholder network that we can together change the way water is managed”.To watch the recording of this event, please click here.