June 17, 2024

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World Water Day: African Development Bank makes a splash at UN 2023 Water Conference

NEW YORK, United States of America, March 22, 2023/ — On World Water Day, the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) will join leading global stakeholders in calling for universal water security for Africans during the UN 2023 Water Conference which opens today in New York.

The three-day conference will assess progress and evaluate additional steps to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 — to ensure universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030. Achieving SDG-6 in Africa is seen as a significant challenge; the continent has made less progress than expected in meeting water and sanitation targets.

“The Bank aims to increase water security for Africa by fostering equitable, sustainable use, and improved management of water resources for poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, regional cooperation and the environment,” said Dr. Beth Dunford, African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

“On World Water Day, the time is right to bring Africa’s voice and African solutions to the world’s highest-level United Nations gathering on water,” said Dunford.

She is leading a bank delegation to the conference that includes Osward Chanda, Director for Water Development and Sanitation, and Mtchera Johannes Chirwa, Coordinator of the African Water Facility. The facility, hosted by the African Development Bank, provides grants and technical assistance to support innovative water projects throughout Africa.

 Members of the delegation will also participate in plenary sessions, panel discussions, side events and other conference activities.

Dr. Dunford is expected to make a statement on water, sanitation and hygiene services in Africa during a roundtable session co-hosted by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and other government leaders.

African Development Bank representatives will also hold high-level talks with governments, heads of business and development partners to explore ways to channel greater investment into water and sanitation infrastructure, as well as to discuss necessary policy reforms.

The Bank has invested approximately $5.2 billion on water supply and sanitation projects over the past decade. As a result, 44 million people have gained access to improved water supply and sanitation services.  

The bank, which prioritizes securing water security for socio-economic transformation through water, food, and energy ecosystems, plans to invest about $6.4 billion in the sector over the next five years. This is projected to benefit an additional 54 million Africans.

However, Africa’s population growth rate means that more investment is needed to meet demand for infrastructure and services. African countries invest an average of 0.5% of gross domestic product in the water sector.

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