AfDB co-Hosts High-Level Debate on Water Security in Africa at World Water Forum

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The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, will make the opening speech at a high-level event at the Sixth World Water Forum today, 14 March 2012, in Marseilles where a distinguished panel of experts will tackle the issues of water resource management and access to water and sanitation in Africa.

The Partnership for Strengthening Water Security in Africa event will focus on two initiatives – Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) and the African Water Facility (AWF) – which are hosted by the AfDB.

The AfDB is hosting the event in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the French government.

The AfDB’s director of water and sanitation and the AWF, Sering Jallow, will join Mr Kaberuka on the panel.

The AfDB developed the RWSSI to focus very much on boosting access to water and sanitation in rural parts of Africa.

The other eminent speakers at the event include the French finance minister, François Baroin; Michel Camdessus, honorary governor of the Banque de France; Loïc Fauchon, president of the World Water Council; Angel Gurria, the OECD secretary-general; Abdoulie Janneh, UNECA executive secretary; Edna Molewa, AMCOW president; Jean Ping, AUC chairperson; Bai-Maas Taal, AMCOW executive secretary; Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, an AUC commissioner, and Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, chairperson of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on water and sanitation (UNSGAB).

At the opening of the forum on 12 March, Prince Willem-Alexander reminded the audience that the UN secretary-general had recently announced that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target on drinking water had been met.

The prince said: “Officially, this is the first MDG target to be achieved by the international community.”  He reported that worldwide drinking water coverage had increased to 89 percent in 2010 compared to 76 percent in 1990, meaning that more than two billion people got access to drinking water during that period.

As for Africa, however, Prince Willem-Alexander said that only 11 of 50 sub-Saharan African countries had met the drinking water target.  Even so, he added, 275 million more people in sub-Saharan Africa in the period.