FULL SPEECH: GWPSA Chair, H.E. President Jakaya Kikwete, calls for water investments in Africa at COP26

The speech below was given by GWPSA Chair, H.E. President Jakaya Kikwete, during the “Towards an International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa” event on 2 November 2021, held at COP26’s first ever Water Pavilion.

On behalf of the Global Water Partnership for Southern Africa and the Africa Coordinating Unit of which I am Chairman of the Board and on my own behalf, I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me and for associating our organisation with this historic COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

We are particularly delighted and grateful that the subject of discussion at this sideline event is “Towards an International High Level Panel on Water Investments in Africa”. We in Africa can’t wait to see the Panel established and start working.


Watch H.E. President Kikwete's full address to delegates at Cop26. 

We urgently need the Panel because of our particular circumstances. 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. The economic and service sectors do not get the water they need for optimal performance thus impeding socio-economic growth and development.

You may recall that in 2016 the then Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon and the then President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim established a High Level Panel on Water. In its report in 2018, the Panel recommended the establishment of a water investment programme for Africa.

In pursuit of that recommendation in 2019 the African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW) directed that the Africa Water Investment Programme be conceived. Subsequently, the AMCOW Secretariat teamed up with African Union Development Agency - NEPAD, AfDB, GWP-SA and others to undertake the work of conceiving and developing the Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP). This work was successfully concluded and in February 2021 the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government of the African Union endorsed the Africa Water Investment Programme as part of the African Union’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.

A huge sum of money is required to implement the Africa Water Investment Programme. The African Ministers Council on Water estimates that about USD 30 billion would be required to be invested annually to be able to meet the SDG6 targets on Water and Sanitation in Africa by 2030. On its parts the AfDB estimates that USD 64 billion would be needed to be invested annually to meet the 2025 Africa Water Vision for Water Security for all.

Currently, water investment in Africa stands at between USD 10 billion and USD 19 billion, thus, leaving a huge investment gap to be filled whichever estimates one uses. It is with the desire to build capacity to mobilize increased investments and financing to implement the Africa Water Investment Programme and close the investment gaps that the African Ministers Council on Water resolved to establish the International High level Panel on Water Investment in Africa.

I am delighted to inform this august assembly that the Global Water Partnership Africa has joined hands with AMCOW, AUDA-NEPAD, AfDB, UNICEF, UNDP and Global Centre for Adaptation to be conveners of the Panel. Work of appointing persons to be Members of the Panel is ongoing. Soon we will have the Panel up and running.

The Africa Water Investment Programme is designed to address the obstacles to investments and financing for climate resilient water investments in Africa. As we all know the biggest impacts of climate change are water related. Perhaps, nowhere is this more pronounced than in Africa where even in the 2021 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change States that the rate of temperature increase in Africa to be faster than the global average. As a result there is increased frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation in some parts of Africa and recurrent periods of draught in many parts of our dear continents.

At the centre of this crisis is the African farmer. With over 95 percent of African food production being rain-fed, Africa's poor subsistence farmers are among the most hurt by climate change.

As we assemble at COP 26, it is of utmost critical urgency that increased attention is paid to adaptation interventions and investments related to water retention, storage, rainwater harvesting, water source protection, and water infrastructure.

We have, also been working with the African Union Development Agency - NEPAD, AMCOW, Development Bank of Southern Africa, AfDB, OECD, UNICEF, World Bank, and other partners to develop a first-of-its-kind AIP Water Investment Scorecard.

The AIP Water Investment Scorecard will support countries to track progress, set benchmarks, identify bottlenecks, and take action to meet the investment needs to achieve SDG 6 targets on water and sanitation.

The AIP Water Investment Scorecard is still under development. Once completed, it is going to be presented regularly to African Heads of State and Government to enable them to know what is happening in the water sector in their respective countries. It will serve as an important guide for their appropriate action. The scorecard, also, will support the work of the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa to track progress in implementation of AIP.

We believe the Scorecard will enhance mutual accountability for results in the mobilisation of water investments and in peer review mechanisms at continental, regional, national, sub-national, and community levels.

We call on international leaders assembled here at COP26 to support the AIP, the AIP Water Investment Scorecard, and the formal establishment of the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa.

Thank you.