World Water Day 2024: Renewing commitment to a peaceful, prosperous and water secure Africa

by | Mar 22, 2024 | News

Today’s World Water Day theme of Water for Peace is especially apt for Africa – one of the world’s most water-insecure regions.

Every US$1 invested in climate-resilient water and sanitation returns at least US$7. Investing in Africa’s water security will realise rights to water, health, education, energy, food security, a healthy environment, gender equality, and many other societal gains essential for a thriving and peaceful society for this generation – and those to come. Echoing the central tenet of the UNESCO 2024 World Development Report released today – investing in Africa’s water security is an opportunity to invest in a peaceful and prosperous for all in Africa.

World Water Day 2024 marks one year since the launch of the landmark Africa’s Rising Investment Tide report, launched by the African Union and International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa during the United Nations 2023 Water Conference. The supporting Africa Water Investment Action Plan, launched at COP 28, contains investment opportunities, programs and projects worth $37 billion from over 20 countries.

African leaders are taking action. Heads of State and global leaders who sit on the High-Level Panel for the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) confirmed that achieving water security and sustainable sanitation for all in Africa is possible by 2030 and is within the power of African leaders, and reaffirmed their commitment to mobilising US$30bn per year by 2030 towards this goal. The AIP is transforming the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation in Africa.

Over $7.5 billion in investments have been leveraged to date to transform the investment outlook for Africa’s water sector, and counting. The Green Climate Fund recently approved funding to support 15 countries in developing climate-resilient water investment programmes on the continent. The World Bank and the European Union’s Team Europe initiative have also recently announced support to advance the African Union water security and climate agenda.

Closing Africa’s water investment gap will not be possible without the partnership of the private sector and institutional investors through innovative financing mechanisms. African governments can unlock and scale an unprecedented pipeline of investable water by forging closer institutional investor-public partnerships and greater risk sharing between public and private finance.

The AIP partners remain committed to working with African governments and global partners towards realising the three pathways outlined in Africa’s Rising Investment Tide, as well as supporting the implementation of the Africa Water Investment Action Plan.

  • Pathway 1. Achieve more impactful water spending and financial leveraging
  • Pathway 2. Mobilise Domestic Resources
  • Pathway 3. Secure Global and Continental Investment and Finance

Together, we can bridge the funding gap, fortify partnerships, and ensure that resilient water infrastructure underpins a thriving, equitable and peaceful Africa. The peaceful future depends on our collective resolve and actions today.

Water security and climate-resilient sanitation are the bedrock for African economic growth, social cohesion, joint prosperity, and ultimately – peace.

This op-ed was written by AIP CEO Alex Simalabwi in observation of World Water Day 2024.