The AfDB Increases Operational Focus on Water and Sanitation

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The AfDB Increases Operational Focus on Water and Sanitation

Launches new Department entirely dedicated to Water and Sanitation Issues on the African continent

Tunis, 10 July 2006 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has reaffirmed the importance it attaches to the infrastructure development on the African continent, with particular emphasis on the Water and Sanitation Sector. Within the framework of the reforms undertaken by the President Donald Kaberuka, a Water and Sanitation Department has been established, effective July 2006, under the new Vice Presidency for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration (OIVP). This decision will help to consolidate and enhance the AfDB’s leading role in water sector activities in the region.

The Department will centralize the AfDB’s water sector activities for better coordination and facilitate the definition and implementation of sustainable solutions across the water value chain, from strategy, policy-making and institutional reforms to project implementation and monitoring. It will spearhead the Bank’s contributions to national efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets in the Water sector and the related areas of nutrition, education, health, gender empowerment and environment.

Headed by Mr. Kordjé Bedoumra, also Director of the African Water Facility (AWF), the Department will be instrumental in ensuring that the AfDB plays a leadership role in water sector activities on the continent.  In this regard, it will reinforce the implementation of the major Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) and ensure financing for projects and studies in the water sector through its public sector operations window. The Department will also serve as trustee for the African Water Facility Special Fund, initiated by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW). Finally, it will also provide support to the NEPAD Water and Sanitation Program, the operation of a multi-donor RWSSI Trust Fund and a multi-donor Water Partnership Program (MDWPP) funded by the Netherlands, France, Denmark and Canada.

"My department will work to enhance the image of the AfDB as a centre of excellence and knowledge for water development activities," said Mr. Bedoumra. "It will support the development of the water sector in Regional Member Countries (RMCs) through lending, grants, technical assistance and water sector policy-based operations. The Department will also position itself as a leader in mobilizing political will and actions to implement policy and institutional reforms in the water sector and catalyze public and private sector investment flow."

In order to create synergies and avoid duplication in the water and sanitation activities in Africa, the Department will be responsible for promoting and building partnership with all the stakeholders involved in the sector. These synergies should result in the development of an appropriate monitoring and evaluation system for water sector activities, providing a reliable database of such activities in Africa and the organization of regular reviews of the sector with all stakeholders from RMCs, donors, NGOs, and the private sector.

The African Water Facility (AWF) will maintain its mandate to improve the enabling environment and strengthen water resources management so as to attract the massive and appropriate investments necessary to achieve the national and regional objectives. With the AWF contribution, the Department will support, according to the priorities reaffirmed by the AWF Governing Council during its 3rd Meeting held in Cairo on 24th June 2006,  activities such as the improvement of Integrated Water Resources Management policies, River Basin Organizations for joint development of shared waters, targeting investment for small-scale infrastructure development, enhancement of information and knowledge in the sector, and establishment of Monitoring and Evaluation systems.

The Department will ensure that all the programmes to be supported by the AWF fit into the national and regional programs of the RMCs, along with the support programs of the donor community, starting with the AfDB Group.

Water and Sanitation in Africa

  • Less than 60% of the total population in Africa has access to improved water and sanitation services.
  • Approximately 210 million people in urban areas will need to be provided with access to water supply services.
  • 211 million people will need to be provided with sanitation services if the international coverage targets of the MDG for 2015 are to be met.
  • The same number of people in rural areas will also need to gain access.