The Zambian Government has launched an almost US$6 billion Water Investment Programme, expected to benefit hundreds of thousands of people in the country.
The Zambia Water Investment Programme was launched by the President Hakainde Hichilema, on Saturday during the African Union 4th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of Heads of State and Government in Lusaka, in partnership with the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa.
Speaking at the official high-level launch at the Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre, President Hichilema said: “The Programme, which is aligned to the four Strategic Development Areas of Zambia’s 8th National Development Plan, 2022-2026, is a game changer in our Administration’s development agenda,”
Job creation through water security and economic development
“The Programme positions water as a key enabler of socio-economic development through deliberated efforts aimed at job creation and economic empowerment through water investments.”
“This is critical if Zambia is to successfully attain the aspirations outlined in the 8th National Development Plan,” said President Hichilema.
The Programme will leverage US$5.75 billion for water security investments and create approximately 200,000 formal jobs in Zambia by 2030.
Backed at the highest political level by the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa
The Zambia Water Investment Programme is Africa’s first national-level water investment programme developed following the launch of the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa in March 2022 by H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chair of the African Union.
In addition to H.E. President Macky Sall of Senegal, the Panel is Co-Chaired by H.E. Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia; H.E. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands; and alternately Co-Chaired by H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The objective of the Panel is to mobilise US$30 billion annually until 2030, for implementing the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) and closing the existing water investment gap in Africa, estimated at US$ 11-19bn/year.
“The 9th World Water Forum shone light on the urgent water challenges faced by Africa and affirmed that action on water and sanitation should be prioritised at the highest-level of leadership,” said Minister of Water and Sanitation of Senegal Serigne Thiam, speaking on behalf of Panel Co-Chair President Macky Sall.
“During the launch of the Panel, H.E. Macky Sall called on African governments, development partners, development finance institutions, and water sector stakeholders to seize the opportunity presented by the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments to elevate the agenda of water to the highest levels of decision making,” added Thiam.
Zambia proactive in addressing water challenges
Zambia is faced with challenges of poor access to clean water and decent sanitation. Joint UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics indicate that over 6.4 million people in a population of about 18 million, do not have access to clean running water and nearly 8 million lack access to adequate sanitation.
This affects the social economic development of the country with women and girls, mostly tasked with collecting water and doing home chores, bearing the brunt of it.
“We commend the Government of Zambia for responding with the urgency that befits the situation by becoming the first African government to initiate and launch a national water investment programme under the banner of the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme and with the highest-level of leadership support from the Panel,” said H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, Panel Alternate Co-Chair.
“It’s excellent that we are doing this together – the High-Level Panel on Water, the private sector, and African Governments. Climate change is increasing the urgency of dealing with floods, droughts, and the profound impact on the lives of millions. The need for investments in water is high – and every USD1 invested comes back to us at least 5 times over,” said H.E. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands.
Zambia Water Investment Programme aligned to Pan-African agenda
The AIP was adopted by African Union Heads of State and Government in February 2021, as part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Priority Action Plan for 2021-2030.
“AUDA-NEPAD has made consistent efforts to mobilise partners to support the transformation of the investment outlook for PIDA transboundary water projects. A critical mass of partners were mobilised under the AIP, a PIDA instrument endorsed by AU Heads of State as part of the PIDA PAP portfolio, to support efforts on the regional integrated corridor approach for PIDA PAP 2, and contribute to continental efforts towards recovery, growth and resilience,” said Ms Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency – NEPAD.
The AIP will be used to assist the African Union Commission (AUC) in developing water policies and strategies, in pursuit of Africa’s developmental and economic growth priorities.
Said H.E. Amb. Josefa Sacko, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture: “I can confirm that the AUC will walk diligently with Regional Economic Communities, Member States and development partners in the pathways created by the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments on Water for Africa and support AIP implementation towards closing the water investment gap in Africa.”
Presenting a blueprint for alternative water financing
Delivery of water investments across Africa is below target to meet the continent’s growing needs.
It is estimated that US$30 billion/year needs to be invested to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target on water and sanitation. Currently, only US$10-US$19 billion is invested each year.
One of the greatest challenges that Africa faces in closing the resultant investment gap of US$11-US$20 billion/year is limited sources of investment – mainly development funding and African fiscal budgets.
The Zambia Water Investment Programme presents a blueprint for the future of the water sector because it offers an alternative and innovative blended finance approach, which will leverage public finance, development, and grant finance to de-risk priority water and sanitation investments so that the private sector can invest their resources in water.
The largest source of funding for the Programme is expected to be from the private sector through blended finance using Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) delivery model.
This innovative approach will be applied beyond the Zambia Water Investment Programme through to the projects and programmes developed under the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP), and together with the AIP-PIDA Water Investment Scorecard, is expected to transform the investment outlook for water and sanitation on the continent.
The high-level event for the launch of Zambia Water Investment Programme was attended by governmental leadership at a Ministerial level, representatives of local and international development partners, and stakeholders in the water and related sectors.
Source: Lusaka Times