AfDB Takes Africa to Istanbul

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Istanbul, March 17th, 2009 - The 5th World Water Forum has opened in Istanbul, Turkey with the African Development Bank (AfDB) leading and coordinating Africa’s Regional participation. The Bank had played this role during the preparatory process which explains why a high level delegation from the Bank led by the Vice President Mr. Mandla S.V. Gantsho is present in Istanbul to take active part in the weeklong event beginning with the official opening ceremony that was attended by over 120 ministerial delegations from all over the world, three heads of state, three princes, and five prime ministers.

Besides leading Africa’s participation, the African Development Bank will use the forum which is the world’s largest water related event to present its role in developing the water sector in Africa which ties with the clarion calls for increased investment in the water and sanitation sector and sustainable exploitation of water resources that came out in the opening speeches. After the opening ceremony, the Bank’s delegation visited the Africa Pavilion which quickly became a centre of attraction on the very first day with hundreds of people visiting.

Senior Bank delegation officials and its experts in the water and sanitation sector also answered questions from journalists of the international press present in Istanbul on the first day of the forum. They are expected to participate in high level panels and various thematic sessions during the forum.

The high point of the African Development Bank’s participation will be on Wednesday March 18th during the Africa’s regional day. Together with other bodies from Africa such as the African Union, the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and other international development partners, the Bank’s senior officials and experts will present the water situation in Africa contained in the Africa Regional Paper. It should be noted that this regional paper was prepared under the auspices of the African Development Bank. During the Africa Regional Day, the Vice President Gantsho will officially present the Regional paper.

The theme of the 5th world water forum which is “bridging divides for water” also justifies the Banks plans to develop water infrastructure in the continent within the framework of its general infrastructure development for Africa.