African Union Development Agency- NEPAD and Global Water Partnership Africa to transform water investments in Africa

The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) and Global Water Partnership Africa have renewed their partnership to transform water investments in Africa.

The partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation and collaboration towards water security and sustainable sanitation in Africa.

The MOU was signed by HE Jakaya Kikwete, Chair of GWPSA-Africa and former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD, on the margins of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.

"GWPSA-Africa partnership with AUDA-NEPAD began in 2019 under Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa-Priority Action Plan (PIDA-PAP) 1. As a result of our joint efforts, water projects significantly increased from just 2% of the first PAP project portfolio which concluded in 2020, to 17% under PIDA-PAP 2, which will run until 2030," said HE Jakaya Kikwete.

Mrs. Bekele-Thomas said that specific donor roundtables on the PIDA-PAP 2 water projects must be organized with the purpose of bringing together the public and private sectors so that the projects can secure funding for feasibility studies and implementation.

"Water is not given the importance and highlight that it deserves and requires. We must ensure that the water programs appear as a priority in PIDA-PAP 2," said Ms. Bekele-Thomas.  

The African Union Commission (AUC) commended GWPSA-Africa's support to strengthen the AUC continental policy mandate and leadership on water and sanitation.

"We appreciate your commitment and partnership," said Mr. Harsen Nyambe, Director of Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy at the AUC, in a follow-up consultative meeting with Mr. Alex Simalabwi, Executive Secretary at GWPSA-Africa and Director of the Africa Water Investment Programme.

"We look forward to outcomes of the joint efforts to support African Member States in accessing climate finance for water investments from the Green Climate Fund and collaboration on the preparation and launch of the report of the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments in Africa at the upcoming UN 2023 Water Conference," added Mr. Nyambe.

Launched by HE Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chair of the African Union during the 9 th World Water Forum, the Panel will release its high-level report with actionable pathways on how countries can mobilize US$30billion/year in water investments during the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York, 22-24 March 2023.

The Panel is convened by AUDA-NEPAD, African Ministers' Council on Water, the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa, and Global Water Partnership who jointly adopted a resolution to convene the Panel in August 2021.

Investments into African water security and sustainable sanitation are below target to meet the continent's growing needs. At least US$30 billion a year needs to be invested to meet Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation in Africa. Currently, only US$10-US$19 billion is invested each year, leaving a water investment gap of US$11-US$20 billion.  

One in three Africans face water insecurity, about 400 million Africans have no access to safe drinking water and about 700 million do not have access to good sanitation. Meanwhile, the industrial and service sectors do not get the water they need for optimal performance thus impeding socio-economic growth and development.

It is in this regard, that the Continental Africa Water Investment Program (AIP), which aims to mobilize US$30bn/annually in climate-resilient water investments in Africa by 2030, was adopted by African Union Heads of State as part of PIDA- PAP 2 in 2021.

Africa's water sector has experienced chronic under-investment by the private sector. Given the limited supply of public funds and donor funding, the AIP aims to strengthen the enabling environment, investment climate, and business case for water in order to attract investments.

Under the MOU signed on 17 February 2023, AUDA-NEPAD and GWPSA-Africa committed to scale up their collaboration on the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments in Africa that will strengthen the political commitment and leadership in water, AIP-PIDA Water Investment Scorecard, continue to work towards the implementation of the AIP and various initiatives and projects on regional, transboundary, and national water investment programs.

The Panel is supported by 40 experts and is co-chaired by AUC, AUDA-NEPAD, with technical support from the GWPSA-Africa, which hosts the Panel secretariat.

Work of the Panel is sustained by AIP-PIDA Water Investment Scorecard, which tracks progress in mobilizing water investments and preparation of relevant AIP-PIDA water scorecard progress reports to the African Union Member States.

"The upcoming UN 2023 Water Conference, next month in New York, is a unique opportunity to engage with global political leaders at the highest level to put water security and sanitation in Africa at the top of the global water agenda," concluded HE Jakaya Kikwete .


Editor's Notes:

The International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa supports the Continental Africa Water Investment Program (AIP) in its goal to leverage USD $30 billion towards climate resilient water and sanitation investments and create 5 million jobs.  

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

More information on the AIP is available here: