The 18th African Water Association congress and exhibition ended in Nairobi on Thursday with a call for concerted efforts to expand access to clean water and sanitation in the continent.
The four-day Pan African congress discussed new strategies to alleviate water and sanitation crises in African cities and rural towns.
Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, who officially closed the meeting, urged African governments, private sector and utilities to adopt innovative approaches to hasten achievement of sustainable development goals on water and sanitation.
“We must explore innovations to tackle the challenge of water scarcity in this continent. Economic growth, food sufficiency and reliable energy supply hinges on water security,” Ruto said.
An estimated 1,500 delegates from 81 countries attended the Africa Water Congress in Nairobi.
The participants drawn from governments, industry, academia and civil society agreed that new investments, technology adoption and capacity building were crucial to achieve universal access to water and sanitation in Africa.
Ruto urged African governments to hasten policy reforms, adopt innovations and increase budgetary allocation to ensure all citizens have access to clean water and basic sanitation.
“Proper investments in water supply and sanitation services are an imperative. Likewise, we require appropriate policies and innovations to tackle water loss and pollution in cities,” Ruto said.
He noted that rapid population growth had exerted pressure on fresh water resources in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Climate change and catchments degradation have worsened water insecurity in this continent. We must embrace new technologies to arrest this challenge,” Ruto said.
The water and sanitation agenda has occupied a central place in the political and policy discourse across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Samir Bensaid, the new President of Africa Water Association, said the political, business and policy elite in Africa were united in their quest to tackle endemic water scarcity and poor sanitation in the continent.
“There is need for political commitment to increase financing towards water and sewerage infrastructure,” Bensaid said. (Xinhua/NAN)
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