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The African Development Bank names Mtchera Johannes Chirwa as new Coordinator to lead African Water Facility

01 March 2022

The African Development Bank has announced the appointment of Mtchera Johannes Chirwa as the new Coordinator of the African Water Facility, a project preparation and technical assistance facility hosted at the African Development Bank’s Water Development and Sanitation Department.

A Malawian national, Chirwa took office on 1 March 2022, after more than a dozen years working in the Bank and more than 25 years of experience delivering and leading infrastructure development projects across some 20 African countries. He will lead the African Water Facility out of the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters.

The African Water Facility, established by the African Ministers’ Council on Water in 2004, provides grants and expert technical assistance to implement innovative water projects, raise investment for water projects, as well as strengthen water governance and water knowledge management across the continent. The Facility’s overarching activities support projects designed to increase water, energy and food security, enhance regional cooperation and promote socio-economic growth in Africa. The Facility also accelerates the attainment of water-related United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well the Africa Water Vision 2025, which advocates for an Africa where there is an equitable and sustainable use and management of water resources for poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, regional cooperation and the environment.

“The African Water Facility has achieved significant outcomes and impacts in Africa’s water sector development, having enabled 5.5 million people to have access to safe water supply, as well as delivering improved sanitation access to more than 1.3 million people since the Facility’s inception,” said Chirwa. “I therefore look forward to building on these achievements, working with our donors, partners and stakeholders through our highly professional team within the African Water Facility,” he added.

Chirwa joined the African Development Bank in 2008 as a Principal Public Private Partnerships Infrastructure Specialist in the Regional Integration Department, where he managed the development and preparation of regional infrastructure development projects in trans-boundary water and transport sectors in southern and eastern Africa.

In 2012, he was promoted to Chief Infrastructure and Public Private Partnerships Specialist in the Bank’s Infrastructure and Urban Development Department, where he led infrastructure project preparation under the NEPAD-Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (IPPF) Special Fund, including its trans-boundary water development cluster. He also coordinated the Bank’s activities for the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), leading engagement with infrastructure partners and stakeholders.

Chirwa has held several leadership roles including in the development of the Bank’s first Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Strategic Framework (2020 - 2022), and the development of the second phase (2021-2030) of the continental PIDA Programme (PIDA PAP 2)  which contains an infrastructure investment portfolio of $161 billion.

Over the past 13 years, Chirwa has managed the development of more than 30 Infrastructure Project Preparation projects at a budget exceeding $70 million, leading to a downstream investment pipeline of over $20 billion - including those for the development of several trans-boundary water resources projects on the Nile Basin, Orange Senqu, Sio-Malaba-Malakisi, Songwe, Shire-Zambezi, and other locations.

Chirwa’s experience includes 12 years dedicated to the water sector: prior to joining the Bank, where he led work in water resources management, design, supervision and management of rural and urban water supply infrastructure, development and management of partnerships, stakeholder collaboration. He has also held an executive management position with a water utility in Lilongwe, Malawi where he oversaw significant operational performance improvements during his tenure.

Chirwa holds a Master’s degree in Construction Project Management from the University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Malawi. He is also a Certified Project Management Professional, Certified PPP Professional, and has attended executive programs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, International Law Institute, and Global Leadership Foundation.