African Development Bank (AfDB) said it invested about $5.2 billion in supporting and strengthening water and sanitation resilience for almost 97 million Africans in 10 years.
A statement issued on AfDB’s website said the bank, since 2015, had invested an average of $900 million yearly to support water and sanitation.
It said massive investments in integrated water development and management are central to achieving sustainable water, food and energy security while assuring green and inclusive growth.
“In 2022, our water and sanitation portfolio of $473 million provided water access to an estimated 6.8 million people and jobs to over 24,000 people in Africa,’’ it said.
The statement said within AfDB’s High five strategic priorities; water security underpinned food and energy security, industrialisation, regional integration and improved African quality of life.
It said AfDB’s Water Policy was built on a vision to improve Africa’s water security and transform water assets to foster sustainable, green and inclusive socio-economic growth and development.
According to the statement, water is an essential resource with direct impact on Africa’s economic potential, and inadequate access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services reduces economic opportunities.
It said one in three Africans were affected by water scarcity.
It quoted the 2022 WHO/UNICEF JMP report as saying 411 million people in Africa lack basic drinking water services.
The statement further said that 779 million people lacked basic sanitation services, and 839 million lacked basic hygiene.
It said climate change causes water scarcity and drought, leading to projected water scarcity for close to 230 million Africans.
“And as many as 460 million Africans will live in areas where water demand periodically exceeds the available supply by 2025.
“This also impacts food and energy security as the continent’s population grows. Water access remains a matter of concern, and efficiency in water use is now a crucial issue,” it said.
According to the statement, the theme of World Water Day 2023, ‘Accelerating change’, is a wake-up call to do even more to solve water and sanitation crises.
It said: “We need collective and urgent action by governments, regional associations, and global development partners.
“We must also consider the complex interplay between water and energy supply and demand, food ecosystems.
“And the impacts of climate change to address the diverse needs and use of water, develop innovative ideas, and optimise finance in the water sector.”
It said towards 2030 and beyond, AfDB would continue to work with and support African countries to drive the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal six targets.
“It will do this through financing, sector reforms and governance, knowledge generation, partnerships and private sector engagement, environmental and social responsibility, and mitigating the impacts of climate change,” it said.
By Lucy Ogalue