Today, over a quarter of the global population don’t have access to safely-managed drinking water and almost half the world population lacks proper sanitation. While well-managed water and sanitation systems are central to human and planetary health, they are chronically under-invested, especially in low- and middle-income countries. There is a still a perception that while social returns from water investments reach far beyond their economic impact, financial returns tend to be much lower. However, to achieve universal targets for access to clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, at least $200 billion a year is needed into water-related infrastructure and services.
This paper explores how blended finance solutions can unlock capital for high-impact water and sanitation assets and services serve developing economies. Financial innovation that optimizes the use of public and philanthropic funding to de-risk and crowd in private capital offers an opportunity to overcome commercial investment into the water and sanitation sector. Through learnings from market opportunities and case studies, this paper outlines key recommendations on how to overcome challenges like monetization, cost-cutting and governance in order to accelerate, scale and optimize investment in this sector and close the gap.