Diversification of water resources and Innovative financing mechanisms are crucial for Africa in tackling the water problems in Africa.
Tanzania’s Vice-President, Ms SamiaSuluhu Hassan, said this in Dar es Salaam during the opening of the 10th African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW).
The AMCOW General Assembly was followed by the 6th Africa Water Week which started on July 18 to 22 under the theme ‘achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on water security and sanitation.’
According to the Vice President, recent statistics have indicated about 800 million people lack access to safe water, and about 2.5 million lack access to improved sanitation. “Almost these affected people live in developing world and particularly in Africa which accounts for 40 per cent of this population,” Ms Hasan said. She said that in a span of one hour, about 400 people majority of them children are more likely to die in the continent from water linked diseases.
Nearly 60 per cent of hospital beds in third world countries are occupied by patients suffering from water related diseases underscoring the issue of water problems in Africa.
Ms Hassan added that the commitment by Africans to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets on water and sanitation has been fruitful as about 322 million Africans can access safe and drinking water and about 189 million can access improved sanitation.
However she noted that Africa is currently experiencing an increasing growth and expansion of population especially in its cities followed by accelerated economic activities, thus there is need for undivided efforts to make deliberate considerations on the requirements for water related sanitation.
“These challenges are many and require bold and decisive solutions . we must tackle future challenges by diversifying our sources of water and being innovative in our financing mechanisms, taking into account huge funding requirements for the sector,” Ms Hassan observed.
She said that there was a call for agency of mobilising money to develop the right skilled manpower and infrastructure so as to develop and manage the sector more efficiently. Ms Hassan, however, stressed the commitment and dedication by the fifth phase government to initiate strategic industrial growth in key areas including adding value to agricultural products.
“This anticipated industrial growth is likely to attract expansion of the agricultural sector with notable expansion of irrigated land and general increase in farming activities in the country.
She added that more water abstraction from the ecosystem will be needed in a sustainable manner so as to achieve sustainable development. AMCOW Executive Secretary, Mr Bai Mass Taal, on his side said that the attainment of SGDs need proper and adequate financing mechanism.
According to him, Africa requires US$11 billion every year for the implementation of its projects, hence without adequate financing it will be hard for Africa to achieve its goals. He appealed to African governments to set aside more money for the water sector in order to address the impending problems. “This conference is crucial because it gives us an opportunity to sit down and draw out our strategies and road map on financial mechanisms to achieve the SGDs.”
Tackling water problems in Africa are seen as key to sustaining economic development in the continent.