Africa's Day at the 5th World Water Forum

19/03/2009
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Istanbul, March 19, 2009-Every region has its day at the 5th World Water Forum. Wednesday March 18, 2009 was Africa’s day. The African Region made its concerns known and encouraged its partners to support the continent’s water and sanitation development agenda move forward. The Africa day at the 5th World Water Forum gave an opportunity for Africa, through its voice, the African Ministers Conference on Water AMCOW and its partners to share thoughts on promoting the continents water and sanitation agenda, examine key water security and sanitation challenges and to present and launch the Africa Regional Paper. The Regional Paper, a 61 page document prepared by AMCOW with support from the African Development Bank (AfDB), identifies Africa’s water resources development challenges and proposes actions for addressing them. It was presented and launched by the Vice President of the African Development Bank, Mandla Gantsho during the Africa Day at the forum.  A day which brought together decision makers from Africa, water experts, and other stakeholders concerned with the development of water and sanitation in Africa. Figures presented in the paper elucidate clearly the state in which Africa finds herself and what is expected to be done to meet the goals of the Africa Water Vision, which entails ensuring water security through the equitable and sustainable management of water by 2025.

The Vice President of the AfDB, Mandla Gantsho who presented the paper pointed out that the situation even though precarious, was not all gloomy, adding that positive changes have however been recorded in the last few years, an example being that funds put in by bilateral and multilateral donors in the water sector moved from $1.8 billion  in 2006 to $2.9 billion dollars in 2007. However, he noted that, while this is commendable, it falls short of what is needed.

The call therefore and which is Africa’s message at the 5th World Water Forum is for commitments made by African heads of state to be translated into action. Donor agencies present at the Africa day activity in response to this call pledged their support in laying a bridge between those commitments and actions needed in order to bridge the water divides in Africa.

After the launching of the Regional Paper, the Africa Pavilion was officially opened by Asfaw Dingamo, Minister of Water Resources, Ethiopia and Chairperson of AMCOW’s Steering Committee in the presence of other top dignitaries. All in all, Africa Day at the 5th World Water Forum was a resounding success.