News | March 22, 2023

Global Leaders Say Africa Can Achieve Water Security By 2030, Present Three Pathways Supported By Action Plan

The three proposed pathways outline how to unlock and scale an unprecedented pipeline of investable water projects through greater risk sharing between public and private finance

Achieving water security and sustainable sanitation for all in Africa is possible by 2030 and is within the power of African leaders.

This is the key message from the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa, which released a landmark report, Africa’s Rising Investment Tide, on World Water Day 22 March 2023 during the United Nations 2023 Water Conference in New York. Sixteen Heads of State and development leaders sit on the Panel.

The Panel’s report outlines three pathways to secure an additional US$30B achieve water security and sustainable sanitation in Africa by 2030 on the continent:

  • Pathway 1. Achieve more impactful water spending and financial leveraging
  • Pathway 2. Mobilise Domestic Resources
  • Pathway 3. Secure Global and Continental Investment and Finance

Approximately US$50B annually, or US$40 per African per year is required, to achieve water security and sustainable sanitation in Africa by 2030. Currently, US$10-US$19B is invested each year.

The Panel’s report signals an opportunity for a watershed investment partnership between African governments and institutional investors in Africa and abroad. The three proposed pathways outline how to unlock and scale an unprecedented pipeline of investable water projects through greater risk sharing between public and private finance. This would result in an unprecedented acceleration in both the pace and scale of financing that responds to the current global water and climate emergency.

Every US$1 invested in climate-resilient water and sanitation returns at least US$7 in societal and economic gains through improvements in health, education, energy, food security, a healthy environment, gender equality, and sustainable development goals.

African countries are currently losing up to US$200B/year due to insufficient investment, coupled with the impacts of climate change and inefficiencies. Over 300 million Africans do not have access to clean drinking water and over 700 million live without access to good sanitation. Without action, climate change will make water shortages worse and lead to more food insecurity, disease burden, human displacement, conflict, and obstruct the continent’s economic development.

The Panel proposes a 5-point Action Plan for Heads of State and governments, business and global leaders, to support the implementation of the three actionable pathways.

  1. Establish cross-sectoral political leadership at the highest level, with commitment to substantially increase public budgets and investments for water security and sustainable sanitation.
  2. Track progress and enhance mutual accountability for results in the mobilisation 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 programmes.
  3. Mobilise 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Use ODA to de-risk water investments and leverage larger funding streams.

The Panel is a registered Water Action Agenda ( commitment (view the commitment here:, and will help deliver on the water actions in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report will inform the High-Level Panel Investment Plan to be released during the 2023 SDG Summit in September 2023. Quotes from the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa Panel Co-Chairs

“USD $10-19B is invested each year in Africa, while at least USD $30B/year is required to achieve water security by 2030. There is therefore a need to close the gap by intensifying advocacy and, above all, action.” - H.E. Macky Sall, President of Republic of Senegal (Panel Co-Chair)

“The Netherlands were honored to provide advice to this great African-led initiative. Now the real work begins: developing the programs, creating the conditions, getting investors ready to step in! The UN 2023 Water Conference is the place to connect those dots.” - H.E. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Co-Chair)

“If we don’t achieve water security and sustainable sanitation on the African continent we will fail at all of the Sustainable Development Goals. The appropriate development, governance and use of water resources is therefore a central part of the African continent’s overall development trajectory and will drive that development as well as offer significant employment opportunities. The release of this report marks a watershed moment. We are offered an opportunity to change course and reconsider the way we are think about investing in water and sanitation.” - H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of United Republic of Tanzania (Alternate Co-Chair)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

About The International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa: The Continental Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) was adopted by the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government as part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa – Priority Action Plan 2 (PIDA-PAP 2) during the 34th ordinary session of the African Union Summit on 7 February 2021.

H.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal and then Chair of the African Union, formally launched the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa during the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in March 2022. The Panel is convened by seven agencies who jointly adopted a resolution to convene the Panel in August 2021: the African Ministers Council on Water, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), African Development Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, Global Centre for Adaptation and Global Water Partnership.

The mandate of the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa is to drive global political mobilisation and international engagement to meet the socio-economic needs of the continent, achieve SDG 6 and other water-related goals, and address the twin challenge of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report meets a specific objective of the AIP High-Level Panel to develop a high-level report and an investment plan with actionable pathways for mobilising US$30B annually by 2030, implementing the AIP and closing the existing water investment gap in Africa.

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Source: African Union Commission (AUC)