Africa’s Watershed Moment: Better Water Management is the Key to Sustainable Development, says new report

A new report commissioned by WWF – Africa’s Watershed Moment: How better water management can underpin Africa’s development – highlights how the management of water is fundamental to sustainable development across the continent.

River Taxi

With demand for water in Africa set to increase dramatically as populations, cities and economies expand, this report calls on decision makers to prioritize better management of water – and the rivers, lakes and wetlands from which it is sourced – in order to lay the necessary foundation for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
 
“This is Africa’s watershed moment. Decisions taken in the next few years about how to manage our freshwater resources will shape the continent’s development for decades to come,” said Fred Kumah, WWF Director for Africa. “Africa urgently needs to invest in appropriate freshwater infrastructure, management and policies to catalyze economic growth, mitigate water risks and achieve its Sustainable Development Goals – or risk missing the boat.”
 
“More than just a key ingredient in our products, water is a precious resource for the economic, social, and environmental well-being of communities across the continent,” said Tony Milikin, Chief Sustainability & Procurement Officer at AB InBev. “We recognize the need to act as a responsible steward of water in the areas where we operate but we also recognize that it will take more than one organization, company or government to tackle the growing freshwater challenges in Africa.”
 
The report focuses on four key themes – sustained growth requires water investment; feeding a billion more people; rural water vulnerability, poverty and migration; and cities as the engine of water-resilient development – and calls on decision makers to act. Key recommendations include:

  • Economic planners should catalyse development by investing in water management.
  • Business leaders should increase investment in water management to reduce their water risks, advocate with governments, and inspire collective action.
  • Investors should explore mechanisms to finance water development that underpins sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
  • City managers should ensure coherent planning between urban and rural areas.
  • Development agencies should promote water-resilient development, with a focus on the livelihoods of the most marginal people in the least developed economies.

Africa’s Watershed Moment can be downloaded here (along with a summary document).

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