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Water and sanitation challenges in Africa

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Addressing Africa’s water and sanitation challenges

The World Bank Group’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) was one of the key players at the congress, contextualising innovations and smart solutions in successful synergies.

(Alberto Leny)

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Alberto Leny
in Nairobi, Kenya

Water and sanitation challenges that confront Africa are not new on the continent.

Thus, the 18th African Water Association (AfWA) International Congress and Exhibition that took place in Kenya last week (22-25 February) raised my curiosity with the theme “sustainable access to water and sanitation in Africa”.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened the conference and noted that the world faces severe water stress, with Africa being the worst affected. He, however, indicated that not all is gloom as there has been significant progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that saw 6.6 billion people gain access to improved sources of water.

I attended key sessions as more than 1,200 delegates from 41 African countries deliberated on efforts being made to attain the targets set in theSustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that succeeded the MDGs.

At the opening symposium that brought together the water and sanitation community in Africa and the world — researchers, academics, managers of water utilities, policymakers, young professionals in the sector and donors — I pondered how they would go about meeting the ambitious targets.

Hamanth Kassan, the AfWA president, urged delegates to take stock of the current situation and come up with innovative ways of improving sustainable access to water and sanitation in Africa that will feed into the SDGs.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.