AfDB Officials Attend AMCOW East Africa Sub-region Meeting

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The East African sub-regional African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) held its meeting from October 5-7, 2009, in Bujumbura, Burundi, with African Water Facility (AWF) experts attending. The conference brought together water sector experts, representatives of civil society organizations, NGOs, and other international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, etc. The primary objective of the meeting was to enable participants focus on strategies to implement decisions on the strengthening of AMCOW’s national and sub-regional presence, sub-regional implementation of AMCOW’s triennial work programme and regional as well as international partnerships.

Speaking during the opening session, the regional AMCOW Chairman, Charles Ngangoue, underscored the importance of water issues both at the regional and sub-regional levels, reminding  participants that the meeting’s objective was to help find ways of implementing key African commitments in the water sector; commitments made through important ministerial declarations such as the Brazzaville Declaration in May 2007 to improve water governance; the eThekwini Declaration and the Tunis Declaration; all of which form key components of the Sharm El Sheikh commitments on water and sanitation adopted by African heads of state and governments in July 2008 in Egypt. Mr. Ngangoue expressed his gratitude to the AfDB for the leading role it has played in coordinating AMCOW’s management efforts as they relate to accelerating water security and financing water infrastructure.

Representing the Bank, water expert Eloi Yao highlighted AfDB commitments in the water sector by adopting a strategy of significantly increasing its interventions in rural water supply and sanitation in 2003 while continuing to support urban and semi-urban water supply and sanitation and promoting integrated management of water resources. As Africa’s premier development finance institution, the AfDB has identified infrastructure for water security as a key priority. This has been achieved through the development and promotion of four complementary regional water initiatives. These are the Rural Water and Sanitation Initiative, the African Water Facility, Multi-Donor Water Partnership Program, and the NEPAD Water and Sanitation Program.

The conference ended with the signing of the Bujumbura Ministerial Commitments which set the foundation for strategies to implement the political commitments on water and sanitation as outlined in the Sharm El Sheikh commitments in the East African sub-region.