The virtual meeting was organized by Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), UNICEF and the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW). It brought together over 50 finance and sector ministers, as well as development partners.
At least three times as much funding is needed in Africa to achieve the UN's sustainable development goals. However, this is far less than the $170 billion or nearly 5% of GDP lost each year by sub-Saharan Africa due to insufficient water resources, water contamination and lack of sanitation.
By mid-century, the economic consequences of water-related climate impacts on African nations could reach $50 billion a year. Every dollar invested in climate-resilient water and sanitation in Africa yields at least $7.
The finance ministers discussed several specific approaches to closing the investment gap in the water and sanitation sector: Increasing the national budget allocation for water and sanitation to 5% and 0.5%, respectively; Partnering with development banks to secure long-term financing that aligns with universal access to water and sanitation targets; Ensuring sufficient financing for universal access to safe sanitation a key development indicator that significantly reduces the burden of public health; Investing in climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure by leveraging climate finance; Reducing debt and ensuring that African nations have access to a fair share of Special Drawing Rights.
The event's organizers urged participants to mobilize political will and see investment in water and sanitation as a means of ensuring economic growth, improving public health and reducing inequalities.
Catarina de Albuquerque, SWA CEO: "Today's meeting reminds us that the challenges facing the water and sanitation sector are as much about financing as they are about political priorities. It is equally essential that governments prioritize water and sanitation in their budgets and political agendas. We are delighted to see so many finance ministers committed to leading by example".
The Africa Finance Ministers' Meeting brings together finance ministers from across the region to discuss the policy and institutional reforms needed to make better use of existing funding. It also seeks to attract additional resources for the water and sanitation sector in order to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Further regional meetings of finance ministers will be held in Asia and Latin America in 2024.