The African Development Bank has called on development partners to scale up support for implementation of sanitation programs to fast track Africa’s progress and deliver on its promise to the continent.
“Achieving the Ngor Commitments and the ambitious targets for sanitation and hygiene within the Global Development Agenda can only become a reality if we scale up our work,” Osward Chanda, Division Manager in the Bank’s Water Development and Sanitation Department said during a presentation before the Development Partners Dialogue – a collective of international development organizations, governments and NGOs working in the sanitation sector.
This year’s AfricaSan International Task Force, held February 18-22, 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa, was themed, “Transforming Sanitation in Africa: Accelerating progress towards the Ngor Commitments to achieve the Social Development Goals.” The conference was co-convened by the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW).
The Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene adopted at the AfricaSan4 conference in 2015 defines clear, achievable commitments intended to deliver dignity and equity in sanitation and hygiene in Africa by 2030.
Chanda cited United Nations estimates that show that some 734 million Africans do not have access to basic sanitation infrastructure, which translates to 62% of the population on the African continent. He also pointed out that there are huge disparities between service levels in rural and urban areas.
“We need to optimize the resources available and ensure harmonization of our approaches as development partners, in order to increase opportunities for regional member countries and for them to make the best of the existing resources and leverage on finances available,” Chanda said. He laid out a presentation of what the Bank has planned to achieve these goals.
These plans aim to mobilize resources from a variety of donors, including traditional development partners and the private sector, and draw up an initial pipeline of inclusive Sanitation projects. The Bank plans also to promote investment opportunities and leverage additional financing from the private sector and other donors. It shall support innovative and catalytic projects, thus attracting additional funding and enabling project developers to mobilize funding for their innovative projects.
The development partners further called for resource mobilization for sanitation and hygiene and the development of co-financing arrangements to replenish sector wide financing mechanisms such as the AMCOW-initiated African Water Facility and the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative, both hosted by the African Development Bank.
The Bank also took part in a special AfricaSan 5 Conference tribute to the late Piers Cross, the South African activist who advocated for water and sanitation for the poor. Wambui Gichuri, the African Development Bank’s Director of Water Development and Sanitation, presented the AfricaSan Lifetime Achievement Award to the Cross family, who attended the ceremony. The Award honors Cross, considered one of the most influential global activists in the water and sanitation sector.
“Piers [Cross] was the consummate water and sanitation professional who was also instrumental in the creation of the AfricaSan regional process,” Gichuri said.