Opening the Week, the Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Dr Kamal Al-Ganzoury said that issues of water was central to Africa’s development hence all hands must be deck to ensure that unnecessary deaths recorded annually as a result of inability to access clean water was reduced.Al-Ganzoury said that there was need for African countries to collaborate and collectively address the continent’s water challenges.
Governor of Cairo, His Excellency, Abdel Kwai Ahmed Mokhtar said at the open plenary that Water was essential for life and the economic backbone of any nation. “The issue here is more than enough water as developing countries must articulate strategies to address the challenges of water management facing the continent water sector.”
The 4th African Water Week opened yesterday in Cairo, Egypt with a call to African leaders not to relent on their efforts to increase
access to clean and safe drinking water in Africa.
He regretted the rapid loss of the continent’s wetlands and ecological resources adding that 95 per cent of water used in Africa was been discharged into the environment with necessary treatment. “Over 2 billion die each year due to inability to access clean water.”
Hon. Bee Molewa, immediate past President of AMCOW and Minister for Water Resources and Environmental Affairs, Republic of South Africa said in a valedictory speech at the ongoing 4th African Water Week that AMCOW had strived to pursue its vision of promoting cooperation, security, social and economic development, and poverty eradication among member states.
Molewa whose speech was presented by AMCOW Vice President, Southern Africa, Hon. S. S. Nkomo said that the council under her leadership was able to provide effective management of Africa’s water resources and provision of water supply services in a bid to realize the 2025 Africa Water Vision.
“I am happy to note that AMCOW is now recognized as the political leader with a mandate from the continent’s heads of states, to lead the implementation of the Sharm el Sheikh Declaration on water and sanitation in Africa. Among the achievements was the development and implementation of AMCOW Work programme. Others include the operationalization of the Pan African Water Sector Monitoring and Evaluation Assessment, and Reporting format to the AU, the AMCOW Trust fund, institution of the meeting of African Ministers of Water and Finance as well as the increased Funding for Water and Sanitation in the Continent.
“The Africa Water Week series continues to grow from strength to strength as you witness in the current Africa Water Week in Cairo with the theme “Water for Growth in Africa …AMCOW’s Journey at 10,” she added, while noting that the conference came at a time that global attention was being focused on the nexus between water and growth and development, hence the decision to call back attention on how far the continent has exploited water resources to grow Africa’s economies given the sectoral linkages with agriculture, energy, transport, environment and health.
“We will continue to robustly tackle these challenges and standing together, we will overcome and build AMCOW into a stronger institution that will continue to support the actualization of MDG targets on water and sanitation and the Africa Water Vision 2025,” added.
Bai-Mass Taal, AMCOW Executive Secretary said that though the water and sanitation challenges confronting the continent was much, it could be overcome if African leaders give it priority attention.
“We have seen the commitment displayed by African leaders to address the continent’s water and sanitation challenges. But it is important to state that without placing water at the heart of development ongoing efforts to develop the continent would remain a mirage,” he said.
He urged African leaders to make true their commitment of allocating 5 per cent of their annual budget to the water sector.
He acknowledged that Africa was blessed with abundant water resources but stressed that the resources were underutilized as only 11 per cent was deployed to hydro and only 5 per cent for energy.
The Africa Water Week meeting in Cairo ends May 19th
The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) was formed in 2002 in Abuja Nigeria, primarily to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water supply services.
In 2008, at the 11th ordinary session of the Africa Union (AU) Assembly in Sharm el-Sheikh, Heads of State and Government of the AU agreed on commitments to accelerate the achievement of water and sanitation goals in Africa and mandated AMCOW to develop and follow up an implementation strategy for these commitments.
AMCOW, having being accorded the status of a Specialised Committee for Water and Sanitation in the African Union works closely with the Department of the Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, with which it jointly works to fulfill its mandate.
For more on AMCOW and its activities, click on www.amcow-online.org