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‘Lack of safe water threatening Africa’s development’

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Lack of access to safe water is considerably affecting the well-being and public health of over 50 per cent of Africans. It is also negatively impacting productivity and hindering socio-economic development across the continent.

Hence, there is need for governments at all levels to provide proper sanitation services, to boost socio-economic growth.

These were the resolutions of stakeholders at Africa Water Week (AWW) in Libreville, Gabon.

The AWW, initiated in 2008 by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) in conjunction with the African Union Commission (AUC) and other development partners, is aimed at addressing the challenges linked to access to safe water and sanitation management.

According to a statement made available to The Guardian yesterday, the seventh AWW was an opportunity for stakeholders, including AMCOW’s executive secretary, Dr. Canisius Kanangire; Gabon’s Minister for Petroleum, Energy and Water Resources, Hon. Patrick Edzang; African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Sacko Correa; and World Bank representative, Steven Shonberger, to renew their engagement, observe results and address new developments and challenges.

AMCOW’s executive secretary lamented that despite the inherent dangers, many Africans still live without access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

He further reiterated the need for African nations to pay particular attention to sanitation and water issues, while encouraging participants, stakeholders and government representatives to see the AWW as an opportunity to discuss sustainable technical and financial solutions to achieve the SDG-6 by 2030.

Dr. Kanangire strongly recommended that African heads of state meet and discuss current water and sanitation issues to provide momentum to the sector. He reminded the audience that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were not reached due to a lack of urgency, and that the same would happen with the SDGs, if further actions were not taken.


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