Camdessus at AfDB, Speaks on Rural Water Supply

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Camdessus at AfDB, Speaks on Rural Water Supply

Mr. Michel Camdessus, former head of the IMF, Honorary Governor of the Bank of France and Personal Representative of President Jacques Chirac to NEPAD, came to Tunis on Thursday, October 12, at the invitation of President Donald Kaberuka to speak on the crucial issue of rural water supply and sanitation in Africa. "The problem of water in Africa is an issue I feel very passionate about," he said as he launched into an hour-long address on the theme: "Expanding Rural Africa’s Access to Water and Sanitation." 

For a man globally associated with currencies and international financial matters, Mr. Camdessus demonstrated a rare mastery of the subject of water and the many challenges it poses to Africa and the global community.  He gave reasons why water is the most important challenge of our times and argued that "this is one war we can win."  He elaborated on the approaches that would have to be adopted to meet the challenge of water and then went over some actions that were being taken to bring water supply to rural areas in Africa. 

On the last point, he both emphasized the important role of the Bank and commended action by the institution to address the problem.  As President Kaberuka would later point out, Mr. Camdessus underscored that in taking on the rural water challenge, the Bank was accepting a major responsibility and one that it had to deliver on.  The Eminent Speaker underlined the fact that water was fundamental to meeting the Millennium Development Goals but also pointed out the limited attention that the world had paid to so important a challenge.  "It may be costly to bring water to all," Mr. Camdessus said, "but what is the cost of not resolving the problem of water?"  That was a counterfactual whose importance was not lost to the President of the Bank.  In concluding remarks, Mr. Camdessus said he hoped that supplying water to rural communities would be one of the success stories for the Bank – and in Africa.

The session that brought together journalists, researchers and water specialists was opened by the President of the African Development Bank Group, Donald Kaberuka. The purpose was to create a platform for an overview of the progress towards reaching the goals for provision of water particularly in rural Africa, share experiences on best practices, identify the constraints to the present efforts, and to propose an agenda for accelerating the move towards water and sanitation for all.


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