Incofin announces in the lead-up to the UN 2023 Water conference and World Water Day, the launch of the Water Access Acceleration Fund (W2AF). W2AF is a private equity fund focusing on safe drinking water, with EUR 36 million of commitments. The blended fund aims to provide 20 billion liters of water to 30 million people, mainly in Africa and Asia. W2AF invests in innovative water businesses that provide affordable, safe drinking water to underserved populations. The committed capital comes from a diverse pool of private and public investors, including Danone along with BNP Paribas, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Norfund, the Danish development finance institution IF U, and international foundation Aqua for All. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided catalytic funding to enable a first-loss tranche through the INVEST initiative.
W2AF is the first private equity initiative in a sector that is traditionally financed by governments, donors and foundations. The fund aims to demonstrate the financial viability of the safe drinking water market worldwide. It has a blended finance structure – an approach to use part of the public and private donor funds to attract capital from private investors. W2AF hit EUR 36 million in commitments at this first closing and aims to achieve total capital commitments of EUR 70 million in subsequent closings.
W2AF goes the last miles
Today, more than two billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. Inadequate or unreliable access to safe water is a harsh reality for many, especially in large parts of Africa and Asia. Piped water is in most countries a common way to get water to consumers, but where piped networks are unavailable or unreliable, people rely on wells or community water supply systems. Mostly women and girls have to walk, sometimes for miles, to reach the nearest water source. A growing world population, together with rising consumption and climate change threatens to increase water access inequality even more.
More and more, local entrepreneurs are coming up with promising market-based, yet affordable solutions. W2AF plans to invest in various decentralized solutions, such as water kiosks, which deliver safely treated drinking water in gallons to the home or to the local store. In addition, the fund will invest in water pipe infrastructure and water technologies. The investments will contribute to delivering safe drinking water to low-income communities around the world.