As a leading provider of water and sanitation services in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Water Facility (AWF) have been invited to participate in World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. World Water Week, which takes place from August 28 to September 2, 2016, is the leading annual global event for tackling global water issues and development-related challenges. The theme of this year’s forum: “Water for Sustainable Growth.”
“The centrality of water to human development and poverty alleviation in Africa is clearly articulated in the new strategic focus areas of the Bank called the High 5s,” said Mohamed El Azizi, Director of the Bank’s Water and Sanitation Department. “These five strategic priorities constitute an integral effort of the AfDB to Light up and power Africa, to Feed Africa, to Industrialize Africa, to Integrate Africa, and to Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.”
This week in Stockholm, the AfDB has been invited to provide new and emerging perspectives on how to accelerate delivery of water services to all Africans by 2030.
At the 2015 Sustainable Development Summit in New York, world leaders set new and ambitious targets in the water sector: to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. Achieving these targets will be central to the AfDB delegation’s mission during the week-long global water event in Stockholm.
“Close to 107 million people gained access to water through interventions of AfDB alongside those of other partners in the last decade in the rural areas of Africa. Yet, collectively, we did not achieve the earmarked water objectives in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said El Azizi. “There is the consensus that more work needs to be done from the perspective of financial mobilization, collaboration, governance, and better integrating climate change and gender issues in water delivery. The Stockholm conference offers us an opportunity to enhance further collaboration towards innovatively tackling this challenge so as to ensure the ambitious targets set by our Governments under the African Water Vision 2025 and the N’gor Declaration are achieved.”
At World Water Week, the AfDB delegation is expected to meet with key actors in the sector, to strengthen collaboration with current partners and build new partnerships. Meetings are planned with multilateral and bilateral donors, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French Development Agency (AFD), Global Water Partnership (GWP), the Nordic Development Fund and the Swiss Water Partnership. Resources mobilized from these institutions are expected to further strengthen two of the AfDB’s flagship water initiatives: the African Water Facility (AWF) and the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI).
The Stockholm conference follows on the heels of Africa Water Week, which took place July 18-22, 2016 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. During the July meeting, the AfDB highlighted the urgent need for action to deliver water and sanitation services to about 340 million and 550 million Africans, respectively.
The Bank is also involved in initiatives with other development partners designed to achieve water security and improved sanitation. RWSSI funds water sector projects and studies; the AWF, for which the Bank is a trustee, provides support to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Water and Sanitation Program; and the Multi-Donor Water Partnership Program promotes effective regional and national water management policies and practices, and operationalizes the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Policy in the Bank’s regional member countries (RMCs). In 2006, the Bank created a Water and Sanitation Department to lead and coordinate water-sector activities and to promote IWRM across all Bank Water Supply and Sanitation interventions.
The AfDB currently maintains an active portfolio of about 105 operations in the water and sanitation sector totaling about US $3.5 billion. The Bank financed it first water sanitation operation in 1968. Since then, it has approved 360 loans and grants in the Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) sector, with a total financing volume of approximately US $7 billion.
Every year, government representatives, water experts, and private sector leaders meet in Stockholm to discuss and advance the water agenda. For more information on World Water Week, visit: www.worldwaterweek.org.