Metito Utilities Limited, a global investor and operator of water, wastewater, and alternative energy management solutions, and British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, announced the launch of their new company Africa Water Infrastructure Development “AWID”.
This is a first-of-its-kind platform to develop climate-smart water projects at scale and to increase water security across Africa.
AWID’s official launch took place at the British Embassy in Cairo, and was hosted by the British Ambassador, Gareth Bayley; MD, Head of Africa for BII, Chris Chijiutomi and Metito MD, Rami Ghandour. The launch was attended by key business leaders in Egypt and from across Africa as well as leading government officials.
Water insecurity is a critical development challenge in Africa. Climate change is expected to reduce water availability and increase the extent of water scarcity, exacerbating existing water-related vulnerabilities caused by other socio-economic factors. Water quality deterioration is also a major threat among communities throughout Africa as most wastewater generated remains untreated.
The significant gap in storage, supply, and access to clean water and sanitation services urgently calls for effective and efficient water management infrastructure.
COP27, which was hosted by Egypt last year, recognised the interdependencies of the water-food-energy nexus, and the implications of climate change, calling for scaled-up investments in water solutions to mitigate, adapt, and increase resilience to the adverse effects of climate change in Africa. Climate-induced changes in the water cycle are impacting the provision of water supply to health, economies and food, and increasing inequality of water access.
Egypt, a key market for AWID, has shown an increased drive in the past decade to revamp its water infrastructure with the water security agenda highly prioritised.
The gap between the current supply and demand of water is expected to increase due to multiple factors and this is proactively being addressed through recycling and reusing agricultural drainage water and groundwater, and desalination in coastal areas.
There is also an increased need to be less dependent on the Nile River and to scale up water projects that are environmentally friendly – using alternative energy and high efficiency green technologies – this presents great possibilities and multiple opportunities for well geared companies such as AWID.
The government is already engaging with the private sector to develop mega water projects such as New Delta treatment plant (the world largest plant of its kind) and Al Mahsama, and this trend is expected to pick up further momentum.
AWID is an investment platform that will demonstrate a viable commercial model for water infrastructure and provision in Africa, helping to mobilise long-term investment into the sector.
Its investments will integrate green technologies and alternative energy components which will help to reduce the environmental footprint of water infrastructure projects.
AWID will finance water and wastewater management treatment plants as well as develop and construct world-class facilities that will help to increase access to sustainable, safe and reliable water with a clear focus on countries that are most vulnerable to the climate crisis.
Commenting on the new partnership, Rami Ghandour, Managing Director of Metito said: “As Africa undergoes rapid urbanisation, there is a pressing demand for water infrastructure. Such projects are particularly capital intensive. An increasing funding gap requires mobilising sustainable investments into the sector. Our partnership with BII will leverage our high-value engineering and use of innovative technologies with access to unrivalled financial resources and support.”
British Ambassador to Egypt, Gareth Bayley, said: “During our COP26 Presidency, the UK focused on finding solutions to ensure countries can adapt to the worst effects of climate change, and at COP27, we continued to partner with Egypt on the call to action on adaptation. British International Investment’s partnership with Metito to launch AWID shows how we follow through on our commitments. This platform, backed by a great British financial institution such as BII, will play a key role in helping Egypt and Africa adapt to the water security challenges that the world faces as a result of the climate crisis, improving water infrastructure and increasing access to clean and reliable water for millions of people across the continent.”
Chris Chijiutomi, MD, Head of Africa at BII, said: “Our partnership with Metito is part of BII’s strategy to improve development outcomes by investing in water, sanitation and hygiene. AWID will demonstrate to other investors, governments and operators that private investment can deliver operationally efficient and high-impact water infrastructure projects at scale that have the potential to drive transformative and sustainable impact in Africa.”
Commenting on the launch, Morgan Landy, Global Director for Infrastructure at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) said: “Investing in water infrastructure is a strategic priority for IFC in Africa and we are working with the private sector to close the funding gap in this critical sector. As a long-standing Metito shareholder, IFC is proud to witness the launch of this new Africa-focused platform that will invest in climate-smart water projects, further promoting economic growth and building a more water-secure Africa.”
He added the platform aims to invest around $35m by 2028, and the start invest will be $10m in 2023.