The private sector has a significant opportunity to invest in water infrastructure in Africa, given the urgent need for such investments, according to Rami Ghandour, Managing Director of Metito.
Ghandour told Zawya Projects that the continent faces a significant development challenge due to water insecurity, further exacerbated by climate emergency and rapid urbanisation.
He highlighted that currently, only $10 billion to $19 billion is being invested annually in water infrastructure in Africa, leaving a substantial gap of $45 billion to $54 billion each year until 2025. Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), which focuses on clean water and sanitation, alone requires a minimum annual investment of $30 billion.
“However, these figures do not fully account for the importance of establishing climate-resilient ecosystems,” he noted.
The Metito official said African countries allocate a maximum of 0.5 percent of their GDP to water sector development.
“This, combined with a lack of governance, regulatory structures, private participation, and viable public-private partnership (PPP) projects, underscores the untapped potential for private investment in Africa's water sector,” he said.
To bridge the funding gap and address the high capital intensity of water infrastructure projects, there is a need to mobilise sustainable investments within the sector, said Ghandour.
In March 2023, Metito Utilities and the UK's British International Investment (BII) launched the Africa Water Infrastructure Development (AWID) platform. This initiative aims to develop climate-smart water projects that enhance water security across Africa.
Investing in water infrastructure in Africa, Ghandour stated, would improve the quality of life for millions of people, reduce inequalities, and contribute to Africa's socio-economic transformation and development.
Karim Medawar, Managing Director of Metito Africa, provided insights into the company's projects in Egypt, revealing that 80 percent of their ongoing projects involve the government, while the remaining 20 percent are dedicated to the private sector. He noted that Metito had secured contracts with over ten real estate companies for water projects and is negotiating for new ventures.
Medawar highlighted Metito's collaboration with consortiums on major projects such as the Al-Mahsama station, completed in partnership with Hassan Allam Group. Additionally, the company is actively involved in the Bahr Al-Baqar station project and the New Delta station project, the world's largest undertaking of its kind, costing over EGP 10 billion ($324 million), with a daily production capacity of 7.5 million cubic metres.
(1 US Dollar = 30.90 Egyptian Pounds)
(Reporting by Marwa Abo Almajd; Editing by Anoop Menon)