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“Water and sanitation will remain one of the key development challenges facing African communities and nations, with direct impacts on economic growth,” warned the African Development Bank (AfDB) at the ongoing 6th Africa Water Week (AWW6), holding in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, from 18-22 July 2016.
Speaking at the conference, Mohamed El Azizi, AfDB’s Water and Sanitation Director, recalled that Africa is one of the developing regions who havaaae not met the drinking water and sanitation targets. More than 50 percent of Africa’s population currently does not have access to safe and reliable water and sanitation services. Also an estimated of 1 million Africans die every year from lack of adequate sanitation, hygiene and from water borne diseases.
The AfDB is in a unique position to help African countries better cope with water and sanitation challenges. “We have track records in implementing water, sanitation and climate change resilience projects as well as a robust experience in managing dedicated trust funds and tools : the award-winning African Water Facility, the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative, Clim-Dev Africa, IPPF-NEPAD… African countries can really benefit from our experiences and lessons learnt,” said El Azizi.
“Expanding access to clean water and better sanitation is a strategic priority for the AfDB. Overall, our projects created 116,000 m3of drinking water capacity between 2013-2015, with more than 6.1 million people benefiting from improved access to water and sanitation as a result of our projects,” he added.
The AfDB and the African Water Facility —an instrument established by the African Ministers’ Council on Water and hosted by the AfDB— have convened or taken part in a series of events aimed at translating the high-level commitments on water security and sanitation into implementation. Discussions have allowed to identify main “game changers” and the policy shifts that are needed to reach the 6th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG6) endline to “Ensure access to water and sanitation for all”.
Participants also tried to develop a common understanding of policy design options and financing requirements for practical implementation of climate change resilience projects. “Getting the right design is critical for financing of any infrastructure. Key design parameters for water infrastructure are hydrological information. In many countries this information is weak and the uncertainties introduced by climate change make projections even more difficult. A new program Hydromet can support better information for design in climate resilient infrastructure,” said Jean-Michel Ossete, Acting Coordinator, African Water Facility.
“To meet SDG6 targets in Africa, realistic and comprehensive financing plans are needed based on the costs of providing both hardware and software components as well as operations and maintenance to ensure services operate efficiently and sustainably,”added Jochen Rudolph, water and sanitation expert, AfDB.
AWW6 was also an opportunity to explore and identify opportunities for linkages and collaboration across global, regional, and sub-regional monitoring initiatives in order to better track progress on SDG6.
Innovative ideas have also emerged. “The AWW discussed new approaches to complement traditional mechanisms of water financing through establishing links with different actors in the African water domain, such as tourism and the private sector,” said Ahmed Tarek, from the African Natural Resources Center, AfDB.
The Bank’s delegation to AWW6 also seized the opportunity to explain how AfDB’s top five priorities or “High 5s” as well as its climate finance strategies can help accelerate the attainment of SDGs.
The main recommendations and resolutions of the 6th AWW will be summarized in the Dar es Salaam Roadmap to achieve Water Security and Sanitation in Africa, which will be adopted by the African Water Ministers at the end of the week.