• Your Excellency Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)
• Honorable Minister Hermann Gustav Schlettwein, President of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and Minister of Agriculture, Water & Land Reform, Namibia
• Representative of the African Development Bank and Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA), Prof. Anthony Okon Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth (AfDB)
• Representative of the African Development Bank Southern Africa, Mr. Mecuria Assefaw, Chief Financial Analyst, AfDB
• Representative of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Mr. Chuene Ramphele, Group Executive: Infrastructure
• Mr. Dario Soto-Abril, CEO and Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership
• Mr. Alex Simalabwi, Executive Secretary, GWPSA-Africa Coordination
• Representatives from the United Nations and World Bank; UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, UNIDO, FAO, UNEP and invited partners from IUCN, SIWI, IWMI, and others
• Distinguished guests and participants,
I am pleased to welcome you to this event to kick off the development of the AIP Water Investment Scorecard. The unprecedented events of the last twelve months have exposed the systemic inequalities that hold back progress on our beloved continent. In the face of the overwhelming challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to our continent, the need for urgent and significant investment in African water and sanitation resources has never been clearer.
Clean water and sanitation are the first line of defence against infection and disease. And yet more than 300 million Africans are without access to potable water, and over 700 million are without access to adequate sanitation.
Access to sustainable and reliable clean water is not only a health need. Resilient economic development, of the sort that will be critical in the post-Covid-19 era, is dependent on water security. We know that our economic resilience has been tested with the triple challenge of the Covid pandemic, climate change, and water insecurity.
The OECD has warned of multiple economic shockwaves, both short- and long-term, as we face less demand for our exports and a continental-wide decline in economic activity and production. We spend over 40 billion otherwise productive hours fetching water. We lose up to 5% of our annual GDP due to inadequate water and sanitation. Climate change losses are estimated at $1.4 billion/year for the 8 most prone countries to water disasters in Africa.
By 2030, Africa’s population is estimated to reach 1.6 billion people. This will require a tenfold increase in water for energy, health, ecosystems, and other social-economic needs. People of Africa need to act with urgency. Acceleration of investment in water and sanitation projects is the only sustainable and long-term route to securing this essential resource for the energy, food, sanitation, and industry needs of Africa’s people and future generations.
The African Development Bank estimates that USD $64 billion in water infrastructure investment is required annually to meet the 2025 Africa Water Vision of water security for all. Actual investments stand between USD &10 – USD &19 billion per year.
During November 2020, I held a brainstorming consultation in this same room, with leaders from the African Union Development Agency, African Development Bank, Development Bank of Southern Africa, COMESA, and African Ministers Council on Water.
We discussed the challenge of water insecurity on the continent, why water investments are lagging behind basic needs and needs for economic growth and development. We explored ways and opportunities for the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme to be a game changer in transforming investment in water and sanitation, and how to ensure mutual accountability for results and sustained leadership at the highest political level on the continent by our Heads of States. We discussed what we can do together with other partners, to mobilize significant resources and to narrow the water investments gap, and to sustain growth and development through adequate water governance, development, and management.
We shared our experiences and lessons from other sectors, such as health, agriculture, and energy. As key stakeholders in the global water community, we need to join forces post the pandemic and support national governments to accelerate investments in water security and address the social-economic challenges compounded by inadequate water and sanitation globally and within Africa.
The AIP Water Investment Scorecard was found to be a strategic opportunity to improve the investment outlook for water and sanitation. The AIP Water Investment Scorecard will support the goals of the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme or AIP for short.
The need for the AIP was also noted in the 2018 report of the High-Level Panel on Water that was co-convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and President of the World Bank, with 11 sitting Heads of State from Australia, Bangladesh, Hungary, Jordan, South Africa, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, and Tajikistan.
In response, the AIP was initiated to transform and improve the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation for a prosperous, peaceful, and equitable Africa. Endorsed by the African Ministers’ Council on Water, the AIP aims to leverage $30 billion in climate resilient water investments by 2030, towards SDG 6 implementation and enhance job creation through gender sensitive investments in water and industrialisation.
I am pleased to note that in February this year, the African Heads of State adopted the AIP as part of the second phase of the African Union Development Agency’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa Priority Action Plan, which is our continent’s blueprint for implementation of priority infrastructure projects in Energy, Transport, ICTs, and Water.
This support at the highest leadership level is what is needed to accelerate water investments, combined with considerations for an economic analysis for water resources.
The UN’s 2013 World Development Report found that three out of four jobs are water dependent. Water scarcity and supply disruptions limit economic growth and jobs. Water scarcity is one the root causes of migration. Investments in water infrastructure and ‘water jobs’ generate positive returns and have a positive ripple effect on job creation across all economic sectors. And yet, the macro-economic issues and the critical role of water in the economy is not spoken about enough.
We need to support national efforts to strengthen the investment climate for water investment by defining a new narrative on water security – one that is rooted in data and accountability.
We need to answer questions such as:
• What is the role of water in the economy?
• What impact does water pricing and availability have on the economy?
• Where does inadequate water availability currently constrain the economy?
This is the rationale behind the AIP Water Investment Scorecard: support countries to track progress, identify bottlenecks, and take action to meet the investment needs for achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation.
Central to this process will be political commitment and leadership at the very highest levels on this continent. We intend for the AIP Water Investment Scorecard to be used by national governments to find solutions to the issues that impede water investments through peer-to-peer learning.
Through this redefined data-based narrative for water security, we can improve the investment outlook for water and sanitation and increase domestic financial resources allocated for implementing national and regional water and sanitation development activities, develop local financial instruments and markets, and mobilise financing.
We have seen some excellent examples of similar efforts that we can learn from. The African Peer Review Mechanism was established in 2003 by the African Union in the framework of the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development or NEPAD. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme is a performance evaluation system based on a balanced scorecard approach.
And finally, I have had the honour of pioneering the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, which works with African Heads of States and the African Union to enhance accountability for results in the fight against malaria, focusing on the use of the scorecard accountability. Together, we can do the same for water in Africa and I invite you to join forces with us as we embark on the process to develop the AIP Water Investment Scorecard.