Bill, Melinda Gates Foundation Commits $6m to African Water Facility for Urban Sanitation

Bill, Melinda Gates Foundation Commits $6m to African Water Facility for Urban Sanitation

Ugo Aliogo

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $6 million to the African Water Facility, to support the operationalization of the Africa Urban Sanitation Investment Initiative (AUSII) – a new financing window dedicated to improving sanitation in African urban cities.

In a statement, it was noted that the African Water Facility, a special project preparation fund established as an initiative of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), is hosted and managed by the African Development Bank.

The statement also noted that the Africa Urban Sanitation Investment Initiative would come as a response to improve urban access to safely managed sanitation in Africa, which is rapidly urbanizing at a present rate of 47 percent.

The statement remarked that across the continent, the percentage of the population with access to at least basic sanitation is below 45 percent, and around 10 percent of urban premises are served by sewerage systems, with 90 percent served by non-sewered sanitation.

The statement further explained that the initiative would aim to respond to this challenge by using innovative financing approaches to support the deployment of climate resilient and inclusive urban sanitation services including the City-wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) approach, which promotes tailored sanitation solutions such as onsite, and decentralized sanitation for cities and neighbourhoods.

The statement revealed that the initiative would support African governments, utilities, municipal authorities, private sector, and civil societies to create and scale access to sanitation that is safe and sustainable with special consideration for the urban poor.

According to the statement, “In 2018, the African Water Facility and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation signed an initial contribution agreement of $14.5 million to pilot CWIS through feasibility studies and design in seven countries – Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo.

“This resulted in the development of urban sanitation service projects in these cities with an estimated downstream investment of $500,000 and outcomes that include improved and inclusive on-site sanitation, faecal sludge management, development of sanitation masterplans and investment planning.”

The Coordinator of the African Water Facility, Mtchera Chirwa, said: “We are delighted to be setting up the new urban sanitation dedicated financing window within the African Water Facility. We value the strong partnership that we hold with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and this commitment will allow us to allocate more resources for innovative solutions aimed at improving urban sanitation in African countries.”

The statement argued that African Urban Sanitation Investment Initiative would provide support for preparation of CWIS projects, technical assistance, catalytic investments, and investment promotion.

The statement disclosed that in the first 10 years of operation, it aims to mobilize $320 million for operations, $7 billion in investments, and 10 percent investment finance from climate finance sources, adding that it targets up to 50 projects with benefit to an estimated 15 million people.

The statement added: “The Africa Water Facility is the only African project preparation Facility solely focused on addressing water and sanitation issues in Africa. To date, the Facility has financed 138 water and sanitation projects in 52 African countries.”

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