Africa’s population is projected to reach 1.6 billion by 2030, which translates into a need to produce at least 50% more food; and at least a tenfold increase in water needs for energy production to support socio-economic development. These challenges and the resultant increase in water demand are further aggravated by rapid urbanization and industrialisation. This requires huge investments in water to satisfy the social and economic demands among other things.

Currently, the level of financing for water and sanitation activities on the continent falls far below the level required to meet the targets of the Africa Water Vision 2025; the Africa Union (AU) agenda 2063; and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). To accelerate implementation and focus attention on the water projects, the NEPAD Agency, in collaboration with the Global Water Partnership (GWP), has formulated the PIDA Water Project as part of ongoing activities to prepare the second phase of the Priority Action Plan of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA-PAP II) from 2019-2024.

The project was unveiled on 29 August 2018, during the Stockholm World Water Week, at a side event on “Accelerating project preparation and financing of transboundary water and hydropower projects in Africa: Learning from Africa and scaling up”. The event convened by the AU, NEPAD Agency, the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), the African Water Facility (AWF) and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) culminated in the signing of a communique which expressed the partners’ commitment to work together and mobilise other partners to accelerate project preparation and water investment in Africa.

Building up on the outcomes of side event in Stockholm, GWP and the NEPAD Agency are convening a technical session on the project during the upcoming PIDA Week to be held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The session will be held at 11:00 hours on Monday 26 November 2018 in Kalala Room, Elephant Hills Resort hotel. The aim is to discuss strategic pathways to accelerating the preparation and financing of the PIDA transboundary water projects, as well as mainstreaming water, energy, food and ecosystems (WEFE) nexus perspectives into the implementation of the hydropower projects.

PIDA Water comprises a portfolio of transboundary water and hydropower projects sponsored and implemented by Member States of the African Union. The Regional Economic Communities (RECS); the African Ministers’ Council on Water; and River Basin Organisations (RBOS) will provide support towards implementation, which will be coordinated by the NEPAD Agency with GWP as the Executing Agency. The programme targets to leverage $10 Billion in investments by 2025. The programme was established following a review on the implementation of the transboundary water projects under PIDA. The review, commissioned by AMCOW, concluded that the transboundary water projects had made limited progress in comparison to projects in other PIDA focus areas.

Speaking on the PIDA Water Programme, Mr. Symerre Grey-Johnson, Head – Regional Integration, Infrastructure Trade and Partnerships at the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency emphasised a key objective of the programme as promoting innovation, stronger project transaction advisory support services linked to PIDA-PAP II, as well as capitalising on the available PIDA delivery instruments to move the advance the water projects from conception to implementation.

“The goal of PIDA Water Programme is to accelerate the preparation and financing of transboundary water projects and foster a water-food-energy nexus approach in the development of hydropower projects. The implementation of the programme will facilitate project preparation and investment into nine prioritised PIDA PAP Water Projects, three water aquifer projects, one River Basin Management Project, five Multipurpose reservoir projects and the 10 PIDA hydro Energy Projects. By accelerating Water infrastructure, PIDA is expected to meet the needs of water-dependent growth sectors and addressing the needs to the poor. The programme is also expected to see the mainstreaming of water security, sustainable sanitation and climate resilience in development” said Mr. Grey-Johnson.

He also added that the programme will pave way for the development of SDG 6 ‘Investments Cases’ on water and sanitation developed and support job creation, gender empowerment and industrialisation, whilst allowing for the preparation of bankable projects water-energy-food-ecosystems nexus.

With regards to NEPAD’s partnership with GWP on PIDA Water, Mr. Alex Simalabwi, GWPSA Executive Secretary and Head of Africa Coordination Unit,  highlighted that GWP support to PIDA Water will be provided within the framework of the Africa Water Investment Program (AIP) through the component on Project preparation and Finance for water, energy, food and ecosystems nexus of the AIP.

“The AIP was developed by GWP in collaboration with AfDB, Africa Water Facility (AWF), AU and AMCOW. The AIP is an outcome of the joint UN and World Bank High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) established by the President of the World Bank and UN Secretary-General in 2016. Its main goal is to transform and improve the investment outlook for water security and sustainable sanitation for a prosperous peaceful and equitable society. This goal will be achieved by enhancing job creation through gender-sensitive investments in water security climate-resilient development and industrialisation,” added Mr. Simalabwi.

The NEPAD Agency will work with GWP to mobilize partners across the continent, accelerate project preparation and catalyse-e investments for job creation. The AIP support Programme to PIDA Water will contribute to African Union Agenda 2063, the Heads of State and African Union AU Sharm el-Sheikh Declaration on water and sanitation; the N’Gor Declaration on Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene; and the Africa Water investment Programme objectives.

The special session on PIDA Water will give participants a platform to share investment opportunities in transboundary water and hydropower projects, discuss bottlenecks and solutions to resolving these bottlenecks in order to accelerate implementation of the PIDA Water Projects. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to showcase selected PIDA Water and PIDA Hydropower project. Updates on the development of PIDA Water within the framework of the Africa Water Investment Programme(AIP) will also be shared during the session, whilst stakeholders give their inputs and reflections.

Author: Leticia Ngorima

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