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Friday, September 22, 2023

Stakeholders seek universal access to water, sanitation in Africa

Leaders, development partners and government ministries have called for a universal guaranteed access to water and sanitation services in Africa.

21st African Water Association International Congress
AFWA President Dr. Silver Mugisha, Ivorian Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Ivorian Water and Sanitation sector key players, and International Partners at the opening ceremony

The stakeholders resolved this in a communique issued at the end of the 21st African Water Association International Congress and Exhibition and the 7th Faecal Sludge Management Conference in Abidjan.

The communique, issued on the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) website, acknowledged the burden of inadequate water and sanitation in Africa.

It also took cognisance of the need for closer coordination among the government, development partners and industry to mobilise financing to strengthen the water sector.

Some 1,600 delegates and representatives from 146 international companies participated in the joint conference, co-sponsored by the African Development Bank.

Dr Silver Mugisha, president of the African Water and Sanitation Association, said sanitation would be a big part of the Association’s focus.

“Let’s not just say that we have added sanitation, but build it in from the ground up. Let’s go with action-oriented take-homes to cause a difference.

“Whatever we do, we must do it in the best interest of people, and hopefully, this conference has provided a few things we can use,” Mugisha said.

AfDB’s Director of Water Development and Sanitation, Osward Chanda, stressed the importance of innovation, partnerships and new approaches in strengthening water service delivery.

Chanda expressed optimism about the potential partnerships formed during the congress to implement innovations and help the water sector.

He also advocated for knowledge strengthening and promotion of business models to increase efficiency and scale up access to water and sanitation.

The director further called for including beneficiary voices in the sector’s conversations.

“We need more voices of beneficiaries in these conversations so that they can provide that much-needed experience and knowledge from the ground,” Chanda said.

More so, he reiterated the Bank’s commitment to supporting actions, initiatives and innovations that would improve livelihoods and make a difference for Africans.

Meanwhile, Drissa Diomande, Chief of Staff to the Ivorian Minister for Hydraulics, Sanitation and Hygiene, unveiled the Abidjan 2023 Declaration on access to water and sanitation.

Diomande said the communique recognised the need for an integrated approach to managing water resources to achieve Sustainable Development Goal six by 2030.

The chief of staff recommended that the Declaration be presented during the United Nations Water Conference in March 2023 in New York.

The next African Water and Sanitation Association congress will take place in February 2024 in Guinea Conakry.

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