Press Conference from AfDB Vice President - “Africa must make greater investments in the water and sanitation sector”

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Gantsho-Press Conference

On the sidelines of the 5th World Water Forum, the AfDB Vice President for Infrastructure, Mandla Gantsho, on March 19, 2009, held a press conference at the Istanbul Ceylan International Hotel in Turkey.

Istanbul, March 19, 2009–The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Vice President for Infrastructure, Mandla Gantsho, on March 19, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, held a press conference on the sidelines of the 5th World Water Forum in which many issues such as the financing of Africa’s water and sanitation sector and progress towards the attainment of MDGS for water and sanitation in African countries were discussed. 

In his opening remarks, Mr. Gantsho highlighted the role the AfDB and African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) play in the improvement of access to water and sanitation in Africa. 

He said it was necessary to build a bridge between access to safe drinking water and other aspects of development, namely; energy, health, the environment, and agriculture, adding that it was necessary to move from words to action. 

Concrete actions advocated during the summit included the mobilization of financial resources; the sharing of knowledge and best practices; the building of institutional capacity, the development of expertise; as well as advocacy and infrastructure development.

It is estimated that US$ 50 million is necessary to attain the MDB on water and sanitation in Africa. “This money should not totally come from donors,” Mr. Gantsho said. “The remaining resources should come from African countries.” In this regard, a meeting of African water and budget ministers is necessary. African heads of state, especially those that signed the Sharm el Sheikh Commitments in Egypt in July 2008 designed to speed up the attainment of the MDG on water and sanitation on the continent, were called upon to allocate a large part of their budget to this sector.

African countries such as South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda are on track to attain MDB targets for water and sanitation by 2015. Mr. Gantsho urged other African countries to replicate the good practices of these countries.

Regarding water-related conflicts, he said it was necessary for countries to seek innovative solutions and adopt common approaches.

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