GWP Southern Africa (GWPSA) is one of 13 regional networks that make up GWP, an international network that was created in 1996 to foster implementation of integrated water resources management: the coordinated development and management of water, land, and related resources that maximises economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of ecosystems and the environment.

Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWPSA) offers practical support for sustainably managing water resources to 16 countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The regional network manages activities and convenes stakeholders in this region and at a pan-African level to address issues that have an impact on water security. GWPSA hosts the coordination unit for all five Global Water Partnership regions in Africa, known as the Africa Coordination Unit or ACU.

The Challenge

Delivery of water infrastructure in Africa is lagging behind the continent's economic and social needs. The African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates that US $ 64 billion in water infrastructure investment is required annually to meet the Africa Water Vision for 2025 of water security for all; but the actual figure stands between US $ 10 billion and US $ 19 billion per year.

Operations and actions

GWPSA-ACU supports the development and implementation of the Continental Africa Water Investment Program (AIP), which was introduced to address the bottlenecks to investments - lack of finance and bankable projects.

The goal is to transform and improve the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation. The AIP's objective is to enhance job creation through gender-sensitive investments in water security, industrialization, and climate-resilient development.

The need for the AIP was first identified by the High-Level Panel on Water, co-convened by the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank in 2016. The program was developed following a joint commitment on its implementation by the African Union ( AU), AUDA – NEPAD, the AfDB, the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW), the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA), and GWP in 2018.

In February 2019, the Governing Council of AMCOW adopted a decision for the transformation of Africa's water investment outlook through increased partnerships and implementation of the AIP. In December 2020, as part of the second phase of PIDA, the AIP was validated by Africa's Infrastructure Ministers as part of the first extra-ordinary meeting of the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Intercontinental and Interregional Infrastructures, Energy, and Tourism organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with AUDA – NEPAD, the AfDB, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

The Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government adopted the Continental Africa Water Investment Program (AIP) as part of Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa - Priority Action Plan 2 (PIDA-PAP 2) during the 34th ordinary session of African Union summit on 7 February 2021.

GWPSA-ACU hosts the Support Unit for the AIP. Read more about AIP implementation here.