Africa-wide consultation on rural water supply and sanitation

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From: 24/11/2011
To: 25/11/2011
Location: Tunis, Tunisia

Between 24 and 25 November, the African Development Bank (AfDB)  hosted an Africa-wide consultation to review the first External Assessment of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI).

The event brought together more than  80 people from 25 countries, representing African governments, donor countries, implementing agencies, and AfDB field offices and Tunis-based staff.

The RWSSI External Assessment Validation Workshop was designed to collect stakeholder views on the assessment, conducted by IWEL in association with ITAD, UK-based consultancy firms.  

The stakeholder consultation was a key input toward the completion of the evaluation of the Initiative’s efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability.

Mr. Sering Jallow, AfDB director of the Water and Sanitation Department and the Africa Water Facility, stressed on the significance of this stakeholder review, an indispensable complement to the AfDB-led Internal Review completed in 2010, conducted within the overall Strategic Review framework expected to be completed early 2012.

Mr. Francois Kruger, AfDB Executive Director for Belgium, France and Spain, addressed the participants and noted that impressive progress had been made by the Bank since the Initiative was launched.  

Yet, he cautioned that there was a need to accelerate the pace to keep the momentum,
“If we take the necessary measures, the RWSSI could become a model for mobilizing resources for basic services like water throughout Africa” he added.

While participants generally agreed with the report’s findings, they contributed additional suggestions for its improvement, touching upon a number of themes, including:

  • Enhancing coordination and collaboration with development partners;
  • Strengthening the overall governance for monitoring and  reporting;
  • Updating the implementation strategy;

Representing 20 countries, African delegates expressed their appreciation for how effective the Initiative has been in accelerating access to water supply and sanitation, with millions of lives already impacted across the continent.

Also present at the workshop, the Canadian and Swiss governments, two of the five donors to the RWSSI Trust Fund - an AfDB fund set up to levy additional financing for rural water supply and sanitation programmes in support of the RWSSI – who agreed that the framework for implementing RWSS was founded on sound principles that should be reinvigorated for better results.  

The findings and recommendations of the overall Strategic Review of the RWSSI will be used by the Bank, Regional Member Countries and by the other members of the RWSSI partnership to strengthen lines of action which have been successful and develop the new ones required to accelerate the achievement of the RWSSI objectives.

At the closing, Ms. Rahel Boesch of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s West Africa department announced additional commitment from the Government of Switzerland, this one for USD 20 million to the RWSSI Trust Fund.

“this is a testimony to the important role that the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative plays in accelerating access to basic water and sanitation services” said Mr. Jallow.

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