Old Mutual has reaffirmed its commitment to support the realization of SDG 6, which seeks to ensure access to water and sanitation for all. The move aims to offer solutions to the economic impact of the challenges in accessing safely managed water and sanitation resources.
Giving his Keynote speech as the chief guest at the National Conference on Enhancing Bankability and Blended Financing for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Initiatives and SMEs in Kenya, Old Mutual Group (East Africa) Chief Executive Officer Arthur Oginga said they are prepared to support SMEs, MSMEs to achieve the goals under the SDG 6 on access to sanitation and clean water.
As revealed at the conference, the gap between available resources and investment requirements in Kenya and the larger Sub-Saharan Africa is large. In Kenya, for instance, the total investment needed to reach universal access by 2030 is estimated at USD 12.9 billion (WASHINF 2020), however, the Government of Kenya is only able to fund a capital budget of Ksh. 562 billion for water and Ksh. 31 billion for sanitation leaving a USD 7 billion gap (WASHFIN 2020) hence the call by Key stakeholders for alternative and innovative funding mechanisms for public water and sanitation infrastructure.
According to the Joint Monitoring Programme, by 2020, only 58 per cent of the urban population had access to safely managed water services. In addition, only 36 per cent of the urban population had access to basic sanitation, and 30 per cent of the rural population had access to safely managed sanitation. This results in high demand for such vital resources.
Emphasizing the urgent need for action to address the water and sanitation challenge and ensure universal access to clean water, Arthur Oginga said, “We must take decisive steps to tackle this crisis and fulfil our responsibility to provide clean water as a fundamental human right and a vital prerequisite for survival”.
“At Old Mutual, responsible investing is deeply ingrained in the company’s ethos”, he stated. Reflecting this commitment, Old Mutual Limited has invested a substantial amount of KES 15.7 billion from its funds in the WASH sector.
Locally, Old Mutual Investment Group offers a comprehensive range of investment solutions and actively seeks investable opportunities for clients, including impact and sustainability-linked bonds. Through education and awareness initiatives, Old Mutual strives to promote the benefits of responsible investing, including the WASH sector.
Speaking at the conference, WASH Coordinator at the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Kennedy Musumba said, “It is important for the Private sector to invest In the WASH sector, as it is on the preventative side of health. This is important because the cost of health and the curative aspect of dealing with diseases once established is higher than preventing them. Therefore, SMEs and the entire private sector contributing to the WASH sector are contributing to the well-being of a Nation because it deals with preventing diseases from occurring”.
Besides Investments, Old Mutual has lined up Banking solutions through its subsidiary Faulu Microfinance Bank that aims at financing customers to acquire WASH (Water sanitation and hygiene, green energy, and other home improvement solutions. The strategy is to have a strong proposition on women, especially in rural areas.
As part of the measures that will foster the growth of SMEs in East Africa and promote the adoption of vital innovations in the WASH sector, Old Mutual fosters the creation of bundled financial products tailored to address the specific challenges faced by SMEs in the WASH sector, adoption of technology innovation which play a crucial role in improving accessibility and user experience and embracing consumer to empower SMEs to educate their customers about the economic and health benefits of clean water access and the financial solutions available to them.
Recently, Faulu Microfinance Bank, a subsidiary of Old Mutual, completed a product rationalization program and established a portfolio that aims at financing customers to acquire WASH (Water sanitation and hygiene), green energy and other home improvement solutions.