WOP-Africa is the regional hub for WOPs in sub-Saharan Africa. A program of the African Water Association (AfWA), the regional WOP platform was established in Johannesburg in 2007 by representatives of over 50 African Water Utilities with support from UN-Habitat, the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank, and the International Water Association.
Although twinning and partnerships had long been practiced in Africa, the Hashimoto Action Plan created the momentum and political will to build an African platform to significantly scale up WOPs on the continent. GWOPA supported the first year of the platform by funding the position of the Programme Manager, supporting initial twinning activities and helping the African Water Association (AfWA) secure funds for its WOPs programs. The WOP-Africa Secretariat is currently comprised of 3 staff members, led by Dr. Simeon Kenfack. The Secretariat is based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, at the AfWA’s headquarters and is responsible for core functions:
- Overall planning, coordination and monitoring
- Fundraising and financial planning
- Liaisons with GWOPA
- Communication and dissemination
- Demand-based TA and support to help groups of partners to prepare sub-programs/project
The WOP-Africa Program Steering Committee gathers all key stakeholders. Its role is to provide strategic guidance, foster coordination and facilitate relationships with funding partners.
Nigeria WOP Platform
The focus of the WOP-Nigeria platform is “Partnership for Utility Viability & Improved Water Supply Service Delivery.” This national WOP platform was launched, with the support of WOP-Africa, in January 2014 to foster closer collaboration and sharing learning between Nigeria water supply utilities. Its mandate is to support capacity building in the form of simple or structured partnerships on a not-for-profit basis for mutual benefit.
Nigeria is home to 37 water supply utilities, each of a different size, organizational structure and operating environment. The major challenge they have in common is expanding access to service the growing populations within their respective tight fiscal environments. Africa’s most populous country lags behind some others in the achievement of international water access goals because of the operational inefficiencies inherent in the service delivery process. A substantial percentage of water production goes to physical and commercial losses, and revenue is insufficient to cover operating costs, let alone financing service expansion. Infrastructural projects may not lead to viability of the utilities unless the institutions are internally strengthened and their external operating environment become more favourable.
The Nigerian WOP programme works in close collaboration with the WOP-Africa program secretariat and its activities have been primarily funded by USAID.