Thursday, 04 April 2024 04:04

WASIC 2024: PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS KEY CATALYST FOR GROWTH OF KENYA’S WATER SECTOR

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Over the years, Kenya has achieved commendable progress in promoting nationwide access to safe and clean water and proper sanitation, all while ensuring sustainability, minimizing environmental impacts and fortifying resilience to climate change. These initiatives have been pivotal in steering the country towards a future where every citizen can enjoy these basic necessities.
However, a myriad of challenges including insufficient funding and infrastructure gaps still persist, impeding efforts to achieve universal access to safe water and sanitation services. In view of the above, the Water Sector Trust Fund, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and irrigation, the Council of Governors (CoG), and other stakeholders, convened the Water and Sanitation Investors Conference (WASIC 2024) themed “Accelerating Investments for Sustainable Access to Water and Sanitation for All”. The conference was held from 6th - 8th March 2024 in Nairobi with one of the key primary objectives being to attract investors to the water and sanitation sector, with a special emphasis on fostering Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and blended financing mechanisms.
Chairperson, CoG Water, Forestry, and Natural Resources Management committee and Governor, Taita Taveta County H.E Andrew Mwadime highlighted the progress made by County Governments in fulfilling their constitutionally mandated responsibility of water service provision.
“Counties face unique challenges such as water scarcity, water quality issues, Non-Revenue Water (NRW), and inadequate sanitation facilities. These challenges, though daunting, present opportunities to collaborate, innovate and devise regional and county-specific solutions,” he added.
Echoing Governor Mwadime's sentiments, the Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Mr. Zachariah Njeru, emphasized the constitutional right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities. He further enumerated the significant strides made through investments, policy reforms, and partnerships, in line with the conference theme aimed at catalyzing investments in the sector and bridging the financing gap toward achieving universal access.
The conference yielded robust recommendations, urging the government to develop a comprehensive legal and policy framework to incentivize private sector investment while mitigating political risks. Deliberations on PPPs in Kenya's water sector underscored the importance of fair pricing, equitable opportunities between the public and private sectors, and collaboration between the National and County Governments. Strengthening private sector engagement for blended financing mechanisms emerged as a critical avenue for addressing sector challenges.
In addition, Water Service Providers (WSPs) were urged to tackle governance and operational inefficiencies through regulatory frameworks and streamlined processes. Aligning programs and projects with the National Water and Sanitation Investment Plan (NAWASIP) was recommended to ensure coherent implementation at both National and County levels.
A session convened by the Council of Governors with support from Gatsby Africa focused on bridging the gap in universal access to water and sanitation services across the Counties. This session underscored the importance of collaboration and partnership among stakeholders to mobilize finances, enhance governance, and ensure the sustainability of WSPs.
In conclusion, WASIC 2024 served as a pivotal platform for dialogue, collaboration, and action toward achieving universal access to water and sanitation in Kenya. By harnessing the collective expertise and commitment of stakeholders, the conference laid the groundwork for transformative change, ensuring that every Kenyan can exercise their fundamental right to clean and safe water.

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