Africa’s Green Economy Summit to Focus on Water Infrastructure for Climate Adaptation

With less than 1% of climate investment in water services, the summit aims to boost nature-based solutions in African cities.

by Adenike Adeodun

The upcoming Africa’s Green Economy Summit, scheduled for February 21–23 at the Canal Walk Conference Centre, is poised to cast a spotlight on the pivotal role of water infrastructure in climate adaptation and mitigation strategies across the continent. Amidst concerns over the insufficiency of climate investment directed towards water services in Africa, the summit introduces a dedicated water track aimed at addressing this critical gap.

The World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization at the forefront of linking environmental sustainability with human well-being, has revealed that less than 1% of the required climate finance is allocated to water services in Africa. This stark disparity comes despite the continent’s status as the world’s fastest urbanizing region, facing unique challenges that necessitate robust investment in water resilience.

According to a report by ESI Africa, Hellen Njoki Wanjohi-Opil, Resilience Africa Cities Lead for the WRI’s Cities Programme, is set to engage participants in a session on Water Resilience in African Cities. The WRI is championing the cause through its cities program in Africa, aiming to promote and scale up the adoption and investment in nature-based solutions (NBS) across 11 African cities, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable communities.

To further this agenda, the WRI is launching the African Cities Water Adaptation Fund and a Nature-Based Solutions Accelerator. These initiatives are designed to support city leadership and partners at any stage of readiness regarding NBS and green-grey infrastructure, with the goal of creating an enabling environment that boosts adoption and investment in these critical areas.

The importance of addressing water resilience is underscored by the adverse effects of water-related risks such as flooding and water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, on human lives, environmental health, and the economic vitality of cities. The summit’s emphasis on water infrastructure seeks not only to highlight the challenges but also to explore opportunities for job creation, well-being, and environmental protection through enhanced water resilience.

This year’s summit also introduces the Pitch Platform, giving project owners the chance to showcase their green business ideas to a global audience of investors and corporate representatives. With over 30 projects presenting an investment pipeline of more than $1 billion, the platform represents a significant step towards catalyzing green economy advancements in Africa.

As Africa’s Green Economy Summit approaches, the spotlight on water infrastructure and the broader discussions around nature-based solutions and sustainable urban development offer a hopeful perspective on the continent’s ability to navigate the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing climate.

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