JOHANNESBURG– South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation has urged the country’s financial services sector to support its efforts to close the 30 billion Rand (about 2.25 billion US dollars) funding gap to develop water infrastructure.

The department is in the process of drafting a new National Water and Sanitation Master Plan, which is expected to be completed in March 2018 and its Deputy Director-General, Trevor Balzer, told the 3rd Annual Water Stewardship summit here last week that the department needed the private sector to assist in funding sustainable development projects.

We expect to incorporate the feedback we receive from the financial community and other stakeholders to create a plan that effectively addresses the country’s needs, Balzer said.

The summit provided an opportunity for public and private financiers to become involved in the initial planning and project conceptualization stage of the new National Water and Sanitation Master Plan. Leading water, infrastructure and financial sector stakeholders held in-depth talks on funding models to improve South Africa’s water security.

They focused on the future of municipal water infrastructure finances, improving municipalities’ capital budget spending, and removing bottlenecks in municipal procurement. By involving such financiers early in the process, the department hopes that the master plan can be designed in a way which is benefits the country while attracting investment.

Speakers said South Africa faced water services challenges on a number of fronts, including supply, aging infrastructure, the need for new infrastructure, significant non-revenue water losses and revenue collection.

Catherine-Candice Koffman, Head of Infrastructure and Telecommunications Project Finance at Nedbank CIB, said getting involved at this stage of the planning process would help to better conceptualise how corporate can leverage strategic, operational and sustainability goals.

At Nedbank CIB, we understand the intimate connectivity between leveraging natural resources and converting these into viable economic solutions to ensure the sustainability of our business and the socio-economic ecosystem in which we co-exist, Koffman said.


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