By: Josefina Lukas, Hertha Ekandjo
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein is concerned about the challenges that are hindering Africa from achieving the sustainable development goal (SDG) 6 target on water security and sanitation.
It is estimated that at least US$30 billion per year needs to be invested to meet the SDG 6 target on water and sanitation. Currently, only US$10-US$19 billion is invested each year.
The High-Level Panel on Water Investment for Africa has proposed that an additional U$2 billion (N$38 billion) per year can be mobilised from African governments budgets through a 20% budget increase to water security and sanitation.
According to Schlettwein, the plan is very ambitious, however there are three major problems in the world limiting the success of the plan.
“While one recognises the need for this ambitious plan and while the outcome of the UN Water 2023 Water Conference Action Agenda for Africa is pointing us in the rich direction, the world is facing a three faceted crisis,” said Schlettwein.
Climate change, he said, is one of the challenges the world is facing right now, with drought and floods intensely increasing as well as wildfires and out of season storms, intense veld fires and consequent flooding, unprecedented heat waves, glacier melting, rising ocean levels
“All these climatic changes are having severe effects on the water cycle making secure water supply more difficult, more expensive and often out of reach for developing countries. Shortfalls in the required funding to address climate change and related water cycle aspects remain significant,” the Minister said.
He also stated that mobilising finance from African governments to fight water scarcity is not the solution since these governments are facing global difficulties that require global solutions.
Schlettwein said shortfalls in the required funding to address climate change and related water cycle aspects remain significant. The proposal to step up domestic financial resources is pivotal, but not the ‘silver bullet’ solving everything.
“We are facing a global crisis which requires global solutions, including the financial needs for the water agenda. Secondly, we have a financial crisis. The current international financial architecture shows its age and is no more able to deal with a globalised world,” he said.
Moreover, he noted that currently, the debt crisis, exchange trends and the weaponisation of the financial rules are fuelling inequality and making the future prospects for developing economies difficult.
The Minister stated that this is especially relevant for Africa with its youthful population where a conducive economic climate for quality economic growth and job creation is much needed to ensure prosperity for the youth.
Schlettwein stressed that the multilateral system of the UN is seriously skewed and no longer fit for purpose with the majority of the global citizens excluded from decision making. The African Union lacks the decisiveness to address continental political instability.
“Economic and other resource scarcity increase the possibility of conflict and water scarcity is one of them. The ability to solve transboundary disputes becomes less likely when political instability is on the rise. After all, our development is not possible without political stability,” he emphasised.