The announcement came at the COP27 conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt at the end of the week and was launched with the support of multiple funding partners.
“African cities need to be at the forefront of our financing priorities,” said Wanjira Mathai, Managing Director for Africa and Global Partnerships at WRI. “Our goal with the ACWA Fund and Platform is to ensure city leaders have a go-to facility that is responsive to their needs.”
The ACWA Fund is expected to provide $5 billion toward urban water resilience in 100 African Cities by 2032.
Mayor Pudence Rubingisa of Kigali, Rwanda said: “The economic case for investments in water security is robust – and with climate change and other drivers exacerbating pressure on water systems, the value of investments in resilience is further heightened.”
“The City of Kigali is thrilled to be collaborating with the ACWA Fund to deliver resilient water services that ensure our city an equitable and prosperous future. As we work to tackle our water challenges, we are also looking forward to joining the ACWA Platform as one of its first partner cities and gaining access to the Platform’s pool of experts,” he said.
The fund will allow city leaders to directly access funding and technical support to implement water solutions, which include but are not limited to integrated governance, watershed management, improved stormwater management, more sanitation services, etc.
The fund is supported by 23 institutions, making up the ACWA Platform, which will provide the necessary assistance and support when it comes to financing and implementation.
The ACWA Platform consists of a coalition of experts and researchers that will support project development and planning. City stakeholders will work alongside experts to establish investment-ready projects.
However, with big aims come big costs and the ACWA won’t be short of requirements. The ACWA fund will need some $600 billion for infrastructure investment and $9-14 billion to regularly secure water resources.
In order to acquire the necessary financing, the ACWA fund will receive funding through grants and congressional loans. Initially, the fund is expected to get $222 million in grants, $288 in direct investment and $5 billion in additional investments.
If successful, the coalition’s goal is to improve water access for roughly 29 million people, conserve 137 cubic meters of water and employ 64,000 people.
By 2025, close to 230 million Africans are predicted to be faced with water scarcity, with an additional 460 million who will live in water-stressed areas according to Global Citizen, an international education and advocacy organization.
Africa is dealing with both economic scarcity and physical scarcity of resources.
Economic water scarcity refers to the lack of infrastructure able to provide citizens with adequate water. Physical scarcity is a result of climate-change-induced events like droughts which have led to the lack of water.
At the moment, Africa is in the midst of one of its worst droughts after four failed consecutive rainy seasons. The 2022 March-May rainy season was their driest season on record during which Africa saw sharp increases in food, water and nutrition insecurity and a high death toll of livestock.
In Kenya, 1.5 million livestock have died this year and in Ethiopia 2.1 million — a total of 3.6 million livestock dying this year because of drought conditions. In Somalia, the situation is worse with 1 out of 3 livestock having perished since mid-2021.
1 in 3 African citizens is impacted by water scarcity in some form, according to Global Citizen which adds water scarcity has also led to violence.
The agricultural sector has also taken a big blow from the lack of available water resources, with crop instability and food insecurity becoming more prevalent over the years. The blow has not hit lightly as agriculture is one of the continent’s main sources of income.
The latest ACWA Fund hopes to address the multitude of issues water scarcity has caused throughout the continent.
As the COP27 Conference comes to a close this week, all eyes are on the WRI’s latest project to effectively assist in helping a continent at the forefront of the water crisis — one that is quite literally teetering on the edge, waiting for the rain, and hopefully, the rainbow afterward.