Half of the countries in Africa lack drinking water — AfDB

The recent meeting of the General Assembly of the African Ministers’ Council, during the 6th Africa Water week should give great concern to Africa rulers. Water which seems to be the most popular element on earth has become the most expensive commodity in most Nations of the earth, worst in Africa Nations.

The question is if water could be this scarce and unreachable by many, then food is surely going to be a worst hit.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) at the just concluded 6th Africa Water Week (AWW6), held in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, recently warned that“Water and sanitation will remain one of the key development challenges facing African communities and nations, with direct impacts on economic growth”.

The AfDB Water and Sanitation Director, Mohamed El Azizi, speaking at the conference, recalled that Africa is one of the developing regions who have not met the drinking water and sanitation targets as more than 50 percent of Africa’s population currently does not have access to safe and reliable water and sanitation services.

Aziz, also pointed out that an estimated 1 million Africans die every year from lack of adequate sanitation, hygiene and from water borne diseases. If the late Afro-beat legend, FelaAnikulapuKuti song recalls that there is water everywhere in the air, land and sea, and it does not have enemy, then African rulers loosing 1miliion of her citizen to water borne diseases and much more lack of drinking water should been seen as an epidemic that need an urgent cure.

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The AfDB’s clarion call, is a unique voice to help African countries better cope with water and sanitation challenges, the award-winning African WaterFacilitythe Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative, Clim-Dev Africa, IPPF-NEPAD, El Aziz reiterates , saying that “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 : adding that African countries can really benefit from their experiences and lessons learnt.

El Aziz stress that expanding access to clean water and better sanitation is a strategic priority for the AfDB as it has created 116,000 m3of drinking water capacity projects, between 2013-2015, with more than 6.1 million people benefiting from improved access to water and sanitation as a result of the projects.

It should be noted that the AfDB and the African Water Facility is an instrument established by the African Ministers’ Council on Water and hosted by the AfDB and have convened or taken part in a series of events aimed at translating the high-level commitments on water security and sanitation into implementation.

During the recent summit, discussions have allowed the AfDB to identify main game changers and the policy shifts that are needed to reach the 6th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG6) end line to ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
The summit participants also tried to develop a common understanding of policy design options and financing requirements for practical implementation of climate change resilience projects.

The Acting Coordinator, African Water Facility, Jean-Michel Ossete, noted that getting the right design is critical for financing of any infrastructure, adding that key design parameters for water infrastructure are hydrological information. He stressed that in many countries this information is weak and the uncertainties introduced by climate change make projections even more difficult as a new program Hydromet can support better information for design in climate resilient infrastructure.

Furthermore, AfDB Water and Sanitation expert, Jochen Rudolph added that 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.

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.

The, AfDB African Natural Resources Center official, Ahmed Tarek noted the summit came up with innovative ideas, adding that 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.

The AfDB delegates 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. They noted that the main recommendations and resolutions of the 6th AWW which will be summarized in the Dar es Salaam Roadmap to achieve Water Security and Sanitation in Africa, was adopted by the African Water Ministers.