Africa still faces enormous challenges in water, sanitation sectors: Namibian minister

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Close-up of a running water tap at a waterhole, Thomas Trutschel/Getty Images

Africa is challenged to translate political commitments into concrete actions as the continent still faces enormous developmental challenges in the water and sanitation sectors, a Namibian minister said here Monday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for Africa to address investment in bulk water supplies and to initiate safety and hygiene protocols for all during unprecedented times, Namibia’s Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Calle Schlettwein said at the opening of the 6th Africa Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene (AfricaSan6), which is being held virtually.

“The mobilization of resources to finance the required investment outlay remains a difficult proposition. Our aspirations for economic growth and social transformation in Agenda 2063 are tied in with ensuring equitable availability of water and sanitation for all purposes, hence the centrality of availability of the water resource as a dependent utility for economic and social progress,” Schlettwein said.

He called for actions to ensure the availability, affordability and reliability of water supplies for economic production, particularly in the industry, energy and agriculture sectors.

AfricaSan6, running from Monday to Friday, is organized with the theme of “Accelerating Access to Safe Sanitation and Hygiene in Africa at SDG+5 and COVID-19 Era.”

Initially planned for 2020, the conference has been postponed to this year due to the pandemic.

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