High-level Panel catalyses commitments, local action on water investments

African governments are responding to the calls issued by the International High-Level Panel Co-Chairs for the development of national water investment programmes. The Government of Botswana will develop a USD 10.8 Billion Botswana Water Investment Programme while the Government of Tanzania is developing a plan on how to invest USD 20 billion in its national water sector. The Malawi Government has also initiated the development of a national water investment programme.
The High-Level Panel Investment Plan is now in development, under the leadership of the AUC, AUDA-NEPAD and Panel Sherpas. This follows the release of the High-Level Panel’s landmark report Africa’s Rising Investment Tide during the UN 2023 Water Conference. The High-Level Panel Investment Plan will outline investment opportunities that can contribute towards achieving water security and sustainable sanitation in Africa by 2030. 

On 10 May 2023, the panel report was presented in Seychelles to the Africa Island States Climate Commission. Island states are among the most affected by climate change and have been identified by the African Union as requiring additional support. The workshop was opened by H.E Wavel Ramkalawan, President of Seychelles, and attended by representatives of development finance institutions and senior government representatives from Seychelles, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Equatorial New Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, and United Republic of Tanzania.  

The Panel report and recommendations were also presented at the High-Level Stakeholder Engagement on Transboundary Water Resources Management in Africa held in Uganda. The high-level meeting was organized by the African Network of Basin Organizations (ANBO) in collaboration with the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), GIZ, and the World Bank. It was opened by the Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs and attended by Heads of River and Lake Basin organizations from across Africa.The report outlines a 5-point Action Plan for Heads of State and governments, business and global leaders, to close the water investment gap in countries:

Establish cross-sectoral political leadership at the highest level, with commitment to substantially increase public budgets and investments for water security and sustainable sanitation.

Track progress and enhance mutual accountability for results in the mobilization of water investments and in peer review mechanisms at all governance levels. Recommit to allocation of at least 5% of national budgets for the water and sanitation sector and 0.5% of GDP per annum for sanitation and hygiene programs.

Mobilize new sources of funding and innovative finance by supporting matchmaking with a special focus on climate resilient, blended public-private finance, and gender transformative approaches.

Strengthen institutional regulation for water investments, create incentives and penalties for increased water efficiency across multiple industries to lead water stewardship efforts, biodiversity, and ecosystem protection.

Use ODA to de-risk water investments and leverage larger funding streams

The recommendations of the High-level Panel have contributed to revisions of the AIP PIDA Water Investments Scorecard, as have the lessons learned from the ten pilot Scorecard countries. Some assessment areas in the Scorecard have also been integrated into the  Water and Sanitation Sector Monitoring (WASSMO) and Reporting System, an AMCOW-led continent-wide automated web-based system that exclusively captures data on water and sanitation across the 55 Member States of the African Union using harmonized progress indicators.

Major strides have also been made in the implementation of investments at transboundary and national levels.

H.E Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe President, and H. E. President Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique signed agreements for the establishment of the new transboundary water river basin organisation for the management of their shared water resources in the Buzi, Pungwe and Save River basins (BUPUSA). A regional water investment programme will be developed to support climate-resilient investments and strengthen cooperation.

We are grateful for the leadership of the AUC, AUDA-NEPAD and High Level Panel Co-Chairs and the collaboration with various AIP partners.  We look forward on continued collaboration and partnership as the panel develops the AIP Investment Plan and prepares for the launch of the High-Level Panel Campaign, Mind the Gap-Invest in Water which will also be launched in September 2023.

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