Benin pledges universal access to drinking water

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Benin vows to achieve universal access to clean drinking water for all, nearly a decade ahead of the 2030 deadline set by the United Nations (UN), a government official said here on Monday.

“The government of Benin wants to drive the current water supply rate up from over 70 percent in rural areas and about 90 percent in urban and peri-urban areas to 100 percent in 2021,” Water and Mining Minister Samou Seidou Adambi said in a document published Monday.

This is a national goal set for 2021 “rather than in 2030 set by the United Nations as the number six of the sustainable development goals,” he added.

To that end, which means “enabling access to drinking water for all”, the Beninese government has raised over 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in fund from the country’s financial and technical partners in three years’ time.

With these resources, the government has undertaken several projects across the country to drill boreholes connecting people with “rural drinking water supply facilities, independent water supply facilities or solar-powered boreholes and some human-operated pumps in remote areas”, the minister said.

By 2014, about 68.1 percent of the West African country’s population had access to potable water — a figure concealing major disparities between various regions of the country, said a report published on UN Development Program website.

Lack of drinking water in the rural area presents numerous challenges, especially during the dry season. Children suffer from waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera. And girls drop out of school to trek kilometers every day to fetch water, the report said.

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