Climate Finance | March 7, 2024

Gates Foundation seeds Africa Water Facility with $6 million grant for urban sanitation

Lucy Ngige
Guest Author

Lucy Ngige

ImpactAlpha, March 7 — Africa Water Facility, launched by the African Ministers Council on Water and managed by the African Development Bank, aims to bridge the continent’s roughly $35 billion financing gap for clean water and sanitation.

The urban sanitation initiative will use the $6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide catalytic capital and technical assistance for up to 50 projects, which aim to increase access for 15 million Africans. Gates Foundation and AfDB teamed up in 2018 on a similar initiative.

Last year, Incofin, British International Investment and water infrastructure investor Metito Utilities rolled out new funds for clean water and sanitation in Africa. AfDB’s Africa Water Facility has financed 138 water and sanitation projects in 52 African countries. 

Opportunities for private investors

A meager 2% of private finance mobilized in Africa between 2012 and 2020 went into water and sanitation. Untapped investment opportunities include stormwater management, flood risk management and insurance, infrastructure maintenance, irrigation solutions, storage, coastal protection facilities and sewerage treatment.