The United Nations (https://bit.ly/3sZ0Mz5) warns that the world could face a 40 per cent shortfall in water supply by 2030, with Africa – which already suffers from greater levels of water stress than other regions – likely to bear the brunt.The economic impact of the shortfall in water infrastructure and supply is already severe. Sub-Saharan Africa currently loses an estimated (https://bit.ly/30kvxlS) 5 per cent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) due to poor access to clean drinking water and sanitation, 5 to 25 per cent of its GDP to droughts and floods in affected countries, and 40 billion hours of otherwise productive time annually, collecting water.
As the world becomes more populous, increased urbanisation, climate change and changes in food production are driving water demand at a rate that outpaces supply.
* Globally, 80 (https://bit.ly/30lOVz5) per cent of wastewater goes back into the ecosystem without adequate treatment, resulting in 1.8 billion people worldwide drinking contaminated water.
* Over 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to clean drinking water and over 700 million live without access to good sanitation.
* The world faces a severe water shortage by 2030, and Africa is likely to bear the brunt – as exacerbated by the impact of climate change.
* Africa’s water sector has an annual investment shortfall of USD 13 billion (urban areas) to USD 27 billion (rural areas).
* African countries lose between 5 and 25 per cent of GDP due to issues related to lack of water infrastructure.The Opportunity: Every 1 USD spent brings between 3 and 24 USD of economic benefitsFor every USD 1 invested in water and sanitation, there are direct and indirect economic returns to individuals and households, the health sector, and agricultural and industrial sectors, ranging from USD 3 to 34, according to (https://bit.ly/30kvHcY) the World Health Organisation.
“If you look at big cities like Accra, their biggest issue is water and sanitation,” says Mr Phiri, “The same applies to other cities like Lagos and Kinshasa with power and roads coming a close second,”
“Water and sanitation is without a doubt the main area that will boom in Africa in the short-term future.”
In order to unleash these economic benefits, Khato Civils Chief Executive Officer Mongezi Mnyani calls on governments to accelerate infrastructure development and foster public-private partnerships. “Political will is at the centre of it all,” says Mr Mnyani.
“Infrastructure initiatives must be government-driven because that’s where the agenda is set and major decisions are made. Governments must work collaboratively and also develop strategies that entice the private sector so that firms like ours have an easier time carrying out projects.”
The Water Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa Requires an Annual Investment of USD 35 BillionWhile poor governance, mismanagement of resources, and a lack of environmental research have exacerbated water supply issues, insufficient long-term investment in water infrastructure needed to manage water resources and provide water services remains a key challenge.
Khato Civild Calls For Partnerships
Khato Civils is now looking to both inspire a new generation of African engineers while accelerating its own development by forming new strategic partnerships.
“Another big plus of the AfCFTA agreement is that fellow Africans will see an African-owned company like us that is well organised and accomplished and our success will rub off on them. Overall, the trade agreement provides a platform where trailblazing African companies can set the marker for the rest to emulate,” says Mr Phiri.
“We look for competent like-minded partners and have found some in Kenya, USA, Italy, and other countries. The companies we work with have done business in far-flung areas, including Asia, and understand how to operate in sometimes unfavourable conditions.”
“We are open to partners that have a passion for changing the status quo, care about African development, and are not just interested in profitability.”