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France, Chad and Republic of Congo at World Water Forum add to recent Swiss backing
The governments of Chad, the Republic of Congo and France announced on 14 March that they would pledge some €45 million to support the African Development Bank’s Rural Water and Sanitation Initiative and the African Water Facility.
The announcement was made at a conference on water security in Africa organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) within the framework of the Sixth World Water Forum in Marseilles. Participants also committed to strengthen their financing for water security on the continent.
The pledge from the French government was €40 million and that of Chad was USD 1 million to support the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI). The RWSSI is designed to increase access to water supply and improved sanitation in Africa’s rural areas.
These funds are in addition to a USD 20 million dollar contribution to the RWSSI from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, announced in November 2011.
The Republic of Congo announced a USD 5 million pledge for the African Water Facility (AWF). The AWF is an initiative of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), established to mobilise and apply resources to finance water infrastructure and investment facilitating activities in Africa. The AfDB hosts the African Water Facility.
“These pledges are important for ensuring progress in the water sector, as much as political will, which is manifest and strongly reaffirmed at this historic conference today” said AfDB president, Donald Kaberuka, who added: “The AfDB stands by all African governments eager to take the leap forward, wholeheartedly committed to helping them to reach their objectives.”
This was followed by the adoption of the RWSSI and AWF Declaration whereby some 300 participants, including African water and finance Ministers, development partners and civil society representatives, reconfirmed their overall commitment to mobilise the required resources and make all necessary efforts to improve water resources management as well as to achieve the Millennium Development Goal targets for water supply and sanitation on the continent.
Throughout the Forum, various water and development experts affirmed the importance of water in improving economic and living conditions in Africa. The AMCOW president, Mrs Edna Molewa, summed up this sentiment as ‘using water to wash poverty away’. According to her, “nothing in development can happen without water. It is time to act.”
The Declaration culminated the day-long conference hosted by the AfDB, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Ministers’ Council on Water, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the French government.