By Haruna Gimba
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed $3 million to the African Water Facility (AWF).
The funding will support the preparation of water and sanitation investment projects in Africa, through the provision of grants and technical assistance to African countries and regional economic communities.
The African Water Facility, an initiative of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), is hosted by the African Development Bank. It is the only African project preparation facility solely focused on addressing water and sanitation issues in Africa.
It helps African countries achieve the objectives and targets set by the water-related Sustainable Development Goals and African Water Vision 2025. It does this by the preparation of innovative water and sanitation projects across the continent.
Access to water and sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa remains poor. Approximately 400 million people lack basic water supply services, while over 700 million people have no access to decent sanitation.
Nearly 200 million people still practice open defecation, and 750 million people have no access to hygiene. Achieving water security and sanitation for all requires large-scale investment in water supply and sanitation, improved governance of water resources and operations, and the design of climate-resilient infrastructure.
Since inception, the Facility has provided €205 million in grant funding for water and sanitation projects in Africa and enabled over €1.7 billion in downstream investment in the water and sanitation sector.
“This USAID financing affirms growing international support for the African Water Facility as a trusted partner and resource for Africa’s water sector. We thank the United States for the funding commitment that will contribute to scaling up the Facility’s work and positively impacting more people across the continent,” said Dr Beth Dunford, African Development Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.
Under its 2022 – 2027 Strategy, USAID aims to reach 22 million people with access to safe drinking water and 22 million people with access to sanitation over five years.
The African Water Facility is raising millions of euros to develop investments that will accelerate public and private sector financing of the water sector and deployment of innovation to improve service delivery.
The support from USAID comes in the lead up to its 2023 funding dialogue in Paris this October, where the facility will engage donors, beneficiary governments, multilateral and international organizations to enhance financing for water and sanitation investment projects in Africa.
“The negative impacts of inadequate access to water and sanitation and poor management of water resources are seen in many countries in Africa.
“The African Water Facility exists to accelerate viable, climate responsive investments by providing grants, technical assistance, and developing catalytic and innovative projects to improve water and sanitation service delivery and water governance in Africa,” Mtchera Chirwa, Coordinator for the African Water Facility, said.
The Facility’s revised Strategic Plan 2017–2025 will endeavour to mobilise resources to increase the delivery of bankable investment projects in water and sanitation across the continent.
This is expected to enable access to climate-resilient and safely managed water supply for 2.6 million people and provide basic sanitation facilities to 2.4 million people.