Access to water and sanitation: AfDB, partners advocate more funding for least advanced countries

30/01/2015
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) reiterated on Thursday, January 29, 2015 in Addis Ababa, its commitment to mobilize additional resources for the Kigali Action Plan. This Plan aims to provide clean water and sanitation to 5 million people in the ten least-developed African countries in this area.

During this high-level event held on the sidelines of the 24th Summit of the African Union (AU), Rwanda, spearheading this African Union-led initiative, AfDB and recipient countries have explored together the various possible strategies for resource mobilization, with a view to accelerating the achievement of the water and sanitation-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo stressed the importance of working in unison and in solidarity. She emphasized strong political will needed from member States in order to raise the €50 million required for the implementation of the Kigali Action Plan. "We must remain mobilized, with the support of our friends and partners in order to receive this funding that can change the lives of millions of people," she said.

AfDB Vice-President in charge of Agriculture, Water, Human Development, Governance and Natural Resources, Aly Abou-Sabaa echoed that sentiment, reiterating the commitment of his institution towards the success of the Kigali Action Plan.

"I urge all African countries and development partners to lend their full support to this typical African initiative," he said.

The Chair of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), Mansour Faye, also Minister of Water and Sanitation of Senegal; the African Union Commissioner in charge of Rural Development and Agriculture, Rhoda Tumusiime; and representatives from Burundi, Mali, Sierra Leone and Liberia also took part in the event.

Participants called for increased efforts four resource mobilization, given the imminence of the deadline for achieving the MDGs.

A memorandum was signed at the end of the high-level event by the beneficiary Member States, the Republic of Rwanda, the African Union Commission and AMCOW.

The so-called “Kigali Action Plan” (KAP) aims to improve the livelihoods of five million people in 10 African Union Member States (including eight Fragile States). The KAP is intending to mobilize a part of the required funds by championing water and sanitation projects in Africa through a crowdfunding platform. The mobilized resources are administered by the AfDB’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSSI) Trust Fund.

With some €140 million contributed to date by the Trust Fund Donors, including Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland, the AfDB has been able to leverage a total of some additional €5 billion for rural water supply and sanitation.

The AfDB, through the RWSSI Trust Fund, has provided clean water for 82 million people and improved sanitation for 57 million.

Eligible activities for RWSSI-TF resources are water supply infrastructure specifically for off-track and fragile states, sanitation infrastructure, development of rural water and sanitation policies, programme and project preparation as well as capacity building and training.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is championing the KAP, an initiative in response to the inaugural African Water and Sanitation Report submitted by the African Water and Sanitation Ministers to the AU Assembly in January 2014. This was warning against the slow progress by Africa in achieving the MDG targets for water supply and sanitation. The report also highlighted the need to address issues hindering the implementation of Africa’s commitments towards water and sanitation, including expenditures, far below requirements.

The Kigali Action Plan provides the combination of the much-needed political leadership, commitment and innovation required to deliver the Water and Sanitation MDGs. It also focuses on the implementation of direct action at community level aimed at redressing rural household water supply and sanitation deficiencies in Africa.

The following ten countries, all of them considered to be off-track in achieving the MDGs, were selected: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Lesotho and Mauritania. With the exception of Lesotho and Mauritania, these countries are regarded as fragile states.