The African Development Bank will be taking part in the 4th Africa Water Week, taking place from 16 to 18 May 2012 in Cairo. This year's them is: "Water for growth in Africa, AMCOW's Journey@10." Sub-themes include "Private sector investment in water and sanitation"; "Infrastructure for Green Growth and Climate Resilience" and "Water Governance and Financing".
According to AfDB water experts, the main challenge of the water sector in Africa remains the low development and use of the water resources potential due to a critically deficient water infrastructure and poor management of water resources and basins. Achieving water, food and energy security and enabling economic growth in Africa requires the construction, maintenance and management of a wide range of water related infrastructures: from dams to irrigation systems, toilets to water treatment plants.
Yet improvements in Africa's water security are held back by a shortage of finance and poor management. Estimates for spending to achieve acceptable levels of water security in Africa are around USD50 billion annually.
However current levels of spending are about USD 45 billion a year on all types of public infrastructure (including power, transport and telecommunications) split between capital investment and recurrent expenditures. The major sources of finance for water in Africa are national governments and ODA. While the private sector can bring additional financing to the scarce resources available, it should be also be tapped for its tremendous organizational and management expertise that can increase the effectiveness of water related service delivery.
Within this context, the objective under the theme on "Private Sector Investments in water and Sanitation" is to revisit progress made in private sector financing in all water related sectors, identify and discuss the remaining challenges in enhancing the enabling environment and the strategic engagement of the private sector in financing and implementation across the entire water sector. A mix of Panel discussions, presentations of case studies and workshops will target financing of various aspects of water related infrastructure (e.g. water storage, hydropower, irrigation, water supply, and sanitation) and provide a platform for exchange between national governments, practitioners, private sector and financiers.