The African Development Bank in a statement on Tuesday announced a new initiative to promote innovation and citywide inclusive sanitation services for sub-Saharan Africa's urban inhabitants.
The Bank's Africa Urban Sanitation Investment Fund Programme, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is funding the initiative designed to focus on the poor.
The Gates Foundation, in partnership with China, showcased the new initiative at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing from 6-8 November. The Reinvented Toilet Expo brought together private and public-sector leaders pushing for faster adoption of innovative, pro-poor sanitation technologies in the world's developing regions.
"The potential impact of this new initiative - created to address urban sanitation in a comprehensive way, ensuring that the poor are also sustainably catered for, is long over-due," said Wambui Gichuri, Director of the Bank's Water Development and Sanitation Department.
"Support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation enhances the Fund's ability to address sanitation in urban areas for greater outcomes, including in health, nutrition, environment, and employment," Gichuri said.
The African Water Facility Urban Sanitation programme (2018-2022) aims to establish the first African Urban Sanitation Investment Fund (AUSIF). The programme builds on the partnership between the Gates Foundation, the African Water Facility and the African Development Bank started in 2011. The Bank and African Water Facility are committed to raising at least US$ 500 million in new, city-wide inclusive sanitation investments for the AUSIF from public and private sources. At least 30%of those resources will finance non-sewered sanitation innovation that directly serves low-income communities.
This partnership enables the African Water Facility, an initiative of the African Ministers' Council on Water hosted by the Bank, to structure the AUSIF to leverage public and private sector investment. It would also enable the fund to build a pipeline of projects under a new set of sanitation investment principles called City Wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS). The benefits of this comprehensive approach include: that everybody benefits from equitable sanitation service delivery outcomes; that human waste is safely managed along the sanitation service chain from toilet to treatment; that waste is managed for resource recovery and re-use; and that authorities demonstrate political will, accountability and technical as well as managerial leadership to drive innovation and to manage finances for sustained and equitable service delivery.
The Gates Foundation is committing US$14.5 million in grant funding for the design and structuring of the Fund and to support development of an initial project pipeline.
"The technologies you'll see here are the most significant advances in sanitation in nearly 200 years," Bill Gates told the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on Tuesday.
Holding a beaker of human excreta which, he said, contained as many as 200 trillion rotavirus cells; 20 billion Shigella bacteria and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs; the Microsoft co-founder explained to a 400-strong crowd that new approaches for sterilizing human waste may help end almost 500,000 infant deaths and save US$233 billion annually in costs linked to diarrhea, cholera and other diseases caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene.
Concluding, Gichuri said, "The Bank is committed to working to incorporate CWIS principles, concepts and experience in project design and to influencing member countries to mainstream innovative sanitation solutions including CWIS in their urban sanitation projects."