GCF approves funding for regional water investment programme in Southern Africa


The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved a grant to support preparations for a regional climate-resilient water investment programme in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).  Funding from the GCF Project Preparation Facility (PPF) will support the development of an investment programme that aims to leverage at least USD 117 million, which is expected to benefit 140 million people in the SADC region.

GCF will provide an initial project preparation grant of USD 1.5 million for the SADC regional water investment programme.  The programme is under the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) that was adopted by the African Union Heads of States Summit in February 2021.  The AIP is part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa led by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

Increasing climate hazards and cyclones across the SADC region threaten existing investments in water, energy, food security, human health, and socio-economic development. The SADC AIP will contribute to closing the water investment gap in Africa.

“GCF is pleased to be a partner of AIP in the SADC region to strengthen the provision of accurate science-based hydro-climatic information and multi-hazard early warning systems, which are the foundations of climate resilient water investment.” said Henry Gonzalez, GCF’s Executive Director a.i.

The AIP aims to mobilise USD 30 billion annually by 2030 in order to close the water investment gap in Africa. It is supported by the International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa led by the President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall; Prime Minister of the Netherlands, H.E. Mark Rutte; President of the Republic of Namibia, H.E. Hage Geingob; and Former President of the Republic of Tanzania, H.E Jakaya Kikwete, who all serve as Co-Chairs.

The High-Level Panel was formally inaugurated in November 2022 on the margins of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

“Currently USD 10 billion to 19 billion are invested each year in water in Africa, whereas at least USD 30 billion per year is needed to achieve water-related SDG targets by 2030,” said H.E. Macky Sall when he announced the panel at COP27.

At the United Nations Water Conference in March 2023, the High-Level Panel launched a landmark report, Africa’s Rising Investment Tide, with recommendations to increase water investments and called for global leaders and partners to at least double their current investments and to implement regional and national climate resilience water investment programmes.

“The African Union Commission (AUC) is committed to work with pan-African institutions, regional economic communities, member states, and development partners towards closing the water investment gap in Africa,” said H.E. Amb. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture during the UN Water Conference.

As the implementing partner, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) will administer the grant and technical assistance will be provided by the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa and Africa Coordination (GWPSA-Africa), host of the AIP Technical Support Unit and High-Level Panel.

“The investment programme will strengthen the SADC Hydrological Cycle Observation System (HYCOS) to inform water-related investment decisions in the SADC region,” said Dr. Patrice Kabeya, Chair- SADC Regional Fund for Water Infrastructure and Basic Sanitation, hosted by DBSA.

“We welcome the partnership with GCF and DBSA on the AIP in the SADC region. We look forward to providing technical assistance in collaboration with AUC, AUDA-NEPAD, and other AIP partners and roll out similar initiatives across the continent,” said Alex Simalabwi, Chief Executive Officer of GWPSA-Africa, and Director of the AIP and High-Level Panel Secretariat.