World Bank (WB) called on African nations to pave the way for the private sector to engage in basic water supply and sanitation development schemes.
Speaking at Wash Leadership Summit of Eastern and Sothern African nations on Tuseday,WB Regional Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa,Victoria Kwakwa stated that institutional reforms, partner coordination, and innovation are decidedly needed to attract more funding, particularly from the private sector so as to expand the pool of resources for WASH impact via creating conducive environment.
She said, “We must move away from business as usual and engage the private sector to accelerate and scale up access of water in the region. The private sector still perceives substantial risks in the water sector in our region. To pave the way for this paradigm shift, we need a sector de-risking strategy to create enabling environment, embracing a roadmap to improve service provision efficiency and relevant stakeholders with government to foster this program.”
“Without progress in water and sanitation access, Eastern and Southern Africa will be hard pressed to deliver on the promises of poverty reduction and shared prosperity, and enhanced climate resilience. The financial needs to meet the growing demand for basic water supply and as domestic funding remains constrained. The average government budget allocated to WASH in the countries in the region is less than 1%. This falls far below the recommended threshold of 4%,” she added.
The vice president further stated that the public and development partner funding is also insufficient. Though, the WB is the largest development financier in the sector, with a large portfolio and strong potential for increase, our contributions remain a drop in the bucket compared to the ever-growing needs.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, over the last 20 years, access to basic water supply and sanitation, also known as WASH, has not kept pace with population growth. Today, there are 37 million more people without basic water supply, and 247 million more without basic sanitation compared to the year 2,000. And every day, 85 million people are forced the indignity of defecating in the open. If we don’t act now by 2030, 345 million people will be without access to basic water services in Eastern and Southern Africa, as to her.
She said that they are looking forward to witnessing progress in the region as countries embrace strategies that align with these principles and opportunities. “When a child is sick because of poor water quality and hygiene, when a girl is compelled to drop out of school to take care of the households’ water needs, we have a human and economic crisis on our hands,” she remarked.