Tunis: Former IMF Boss Michel Camdessus Makes Presentation on Water

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Date: 12/09/2006
Location: Tunis, Tunisia
Tunis: Former IMF Boss Michel Camdessus Makes Presentation on Water

The former IMF Managing Director, Michel Camdessus, will on Thursday October 12, 2006, in Tunis make a presentation on the theme "Expanding Rural Africa’s Access to Water and Sanitation".

The session, open to external participants (journalists, researchers, water specialists…), will be opened by the President of the African Development Bank Group, Donald Kaberuka.

The purpose is 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 toward water and sanitation for all.

The development of Africa’s water resources has become one of the key objectives of the Bank’s development efforts on the continent. African annual renewable water resources, which are estimated at about 5,400 billion m3 per year, are considered to be abundant. These water resources are characterized by extreme temporal and spatial variability with over 60 shared water basins dominating the landscape. However, the exploitation of water resources is low with only about 3 percent of the total amount used under managed conditions. Africa is therefore faced with the major challenge of achieving significant development of its water resources to ensure sustained economic growth and social wellbeing.

Africa's failure to fully exploit its water resources is taking its toll on the continent’s population. Currently over  300 million people in Africa do not have access to safe water and over 313 million have no access to sanitation. According to experts from the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, 62% of Africa’s population lives in rural areas and yet access to water and sanitation is lowest in these areas with about 47 percent for water and 45 percent for sanitation. Low access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is the root cause of many diseases that afflict Africa and a contributory factor to the high infant and maternal mortality rates in many African countries. According to WHO reports, 50 percent of all Africans suffer from one of six water-related diseases that have made Africa their home. These diseases which include, cholera, e-coli, diarrhea, etc, are largely to blame for many African children not being able to celebrate their fifth birthday.